Lot 105
  • 105

Claes Oldenburg

40,000 - 60,000 USD
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  • Claes Oldenburg
  • Landscape with Lighthouse (Provincetown)
  • scrap wood with paint

  • 14 by 18 by 4 3/4 in. 35.6 by 45.7 by 12 cm.
  • Executed in 1960.


Patty Oldenburg
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
Private Collection, New York


New York, Museum of Modern Art, Claes Oldenburg: A Retrospective, September - November 1969, p. 52, illustrated

Catalogue Note

1960 was a watershed year of artistic production for Claes Oldenburg, causing him to seek refuge from the turbulent life of the city in the relatively tranquil town of Provincetown, a place that would be a haven for him. In a notebook entry penned in Provincetown in 1960, Oldenburg wrote, "I make my work out of everyday experiences, which I find as perplexing and extraordinary as can be. The result is not plotted, and the paths lead through impossible darkness. Living is an enigma, creation is an enigma. A type of form f.ex. 'environment' means nothing. I would as soon do a painting on the head of a pin. The thing is to join the current in the depths." (Exh. Cat., Museum of Modern Art, Claes Oldenburg: A Retrospective, New York, 1969, p. 35) Oldenburg realized this objective during lengthy  walks along the Provincetown beachfront where he would pluck pieces of driftwood and debris from the sandy dunes and would fashion them into weathered relief's.  Oldenburg would refer to these pieces as the Provincetown Flags, and intended for them to reference objects that suggested historical significance.  As in the present work,  Landscape with Lighthouse (Provincetown), many of these include a crescent shaped element, the "C" also standing for Claes himself, and a structure (fraught with phallic connotations), as the lighthouse. For Oldenburg, this realized his ambition to have a more immediate and direct art, one more connected with the human experience. "Art should literally be made out of the ordinary world; it's space should be our space; it's time, our time, it's objects, our ordinary objects; the reality of art will replace reality."  (Exh. Cat., Museum of Modern Art, Claes Oldenburg: A Retrospective, New York, 1969, p. 53.)