TOM WESSELMANN | FROM GREAT AMERICAN NUDE #100
Property from the Estate of Barbara R. Caplan
1931 - 2004
FROM GREAT AMERICAN NUDE #100
thinned liquitex and graphite on ragboard
Board: 12¼ by 19⅞ in. (31.1 by 50.4 cm.)
Framed: 17½ by 24⅞ in. (44.4 by 63.1 cm.)
Executed in 1975.
This work is in very good condition overall. The board is hinged along the edges of the reverse to the mat. There is faint discoloration along the edges of the board, not visible when framed. Framed under Plexiglas.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
Knoedler Gallery, New York (acquired from the above circa 1977-82)
Rosa Esman Gallery, New York
Estate of Barbara R. Caplan, New York (acquired from the above in 1992)
Thence by descent to the present owner
New York, Rosa Esman Gallery, Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition, February - March 1992
“The first works that brought Wesselmann to the attention of the art world were the Great American Nudes. They began 1961 when he was having difficulty establishing a personal color vocabulary- there were simply too many colors to choose from, and his choices often felt arbitrary to him. At that juncture he needed a way to limit his palette, and at the moment of greatest concern, he had a dream about the colors red, white and blue. When he awoke, he decided to do the Great American Nude, limiting his palette to those colors and any related patriotic colors, such as gold fringe on a flag, khaki- the color of his old army uniform, etc. Of course, he used true colors of real elements such as roses or oranges, etc. Gradually, this limited palette dropped away, having served its purpose, although the Great American Nudes continued into the early seventies” (Charta, Tom Wesselmann, Milan 2003, p. 15)
Wesselmann’s nudes are arguably the most widely recognized series of his artistic career. The simplified human forms and passages of rich color have become iconic symbols from one of the leading American Pop artists of the 1960’s. He spent the earlier years of his career experimenting with his style while attempting to stray from the abstract expressionism that many artists explored during this period. It was in the early 1960’s that he found his voice through his Great American Nudes series. Great American Nude #100 was completed in 1973 as the last of the Great American Nude Series. The present example is a slight variation of this painting, which Wesselmann completed in thinned liquitex washes two years later in 1975.
“Wesselmann is attracted not so much by the female nude as by the pictorial or advertising reproduction of that nude. So the subject of these works is not the model as an emblem of female beauty but the abstract image of that subject…even when a subtle sensuality caresses the female forms, playing on the lines and lingering on the shapes, even when a veiled eroticism shows through, recalling the elegance of Modigliani, Wesselman softens the tension by accentuating the female outline and draining away the vibrancy of color.” (Charta, Tom Wesselmann, Milan 2003, p. 13)