Ohio Finds: Tom Wesselmann “Blonde Vivienne” Print
Born in Cincinnati in 1931, Tom Wesselmann became internationally known for his pop art depictions of female nudes.
Born in Cincinnati in 1931, Tom Wesselmann became internationally known for his pop art depictions of female nudes, but he didn’t originally see himself as an artist. He studied psychology at the University of Cincinnati and was drafted during the Korean War. Afterward, he enrolled at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and concentrated on drawing.
He began his career by selling cartoon strips and illustrations, but it was only after leaving Ohio that he found purpose in his work. His break came in New York City, where in 1956 he enrolled at The Cooper Union and began a transformation toward painting. That eventually led to his Great American Nude series, which debuted in 1961. His take on the female body was often stark, as seen in his print “Blonde Vivienne,” and his creations were generally bold and often large.
Wesselmann drew praise within the art world, but he garnered criticism outside that sphere for what was seen as the objectification of women. Although his work included other media and subjects, his modern slant on the centuries-old fascination with the female body still largely defines his career. He died in New York City in 2004.
Sold at Auction: $10,625
Richard Jeffers is the owner of Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers in Columbus. garths.com