"The prime mission of my art . . . is to make figurative art as exciting as abstract art." - Tom Wesselmann
Tom Wesselmann was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 23, 1931 and died December 17, 2004 in New York.
Wesselmann became one of the leading American Pop artists of the 1960s, rejecting abstract expressionism in favor of the classical representations of the nude, still life, and landscape. He created collages and assemblages incorporating everyday objects and advertising ephemera in an effort to make images as powerful as the abstract expressionism he admired. He is perhaps best known for his Great American Nude series with their fat forms and intense colors.
He continued exploring shaped canvases (first exhibited in the 1960s) and began creating his first works in metal. He instigated the development of a laser-cutting application, which would allow him to make a faithful translation of his drawings in cut-out metal.
The 1990s and early 2000s saw the artist expanding on these themes, creating abstract three-dimensional images that he described as "going back to what I had desperately been aiming for in 1959". He had indeed come full circle. In his final years he returned to the female form in his Sunset Nudes series of oil paintings on canvas, whose bold compositions, abstract imagery, and sanguine moods often recall the odalisques of Henri Matisse. (Source: The Estate of Tom Wesselman)