Tom Wesselmann’s Later Works

Tom Wesselmann 1931-2004

A new generation of fans has discovered the works of Tom Wesselmann. His images are appearing, with increased frequency, on the shirts, shorts, towels and water bottles of millennial skateboarders and surfers. The Robb Report calls the designs maximum art school chic.

Tom Wesselmann t-shirt from the NOAH clothing company.

Wesselman was one of the Pop artists whose works were shown alongside Andy Warhol’s and Roy Lichtenstein’s, but his work was figurative, less than abstract and he never got the recognition that others did, although his Still Lifes and Great American Nudes Series, done in the 1960s and 1970s, were very well received.

Tom Wesselmann
Maquette for Still Life with Matisse and Johns,1991
Liquitex on Bristol board
8 ¼ x 11x 1 ½ inches
Overall: 17 ¾ x21 ¾ x4 inches
For sale at Surovek Gallery

In the 1980s, when Wesselmann was in his fifties, he began to work in steel and aluminum and return to more classical compositions, paying homage to artists who had influenced him during his formative years as an artist.

Tom Wesselmann
Mixed Bouquet with Leger, 1993
Color serigraph
54 ½ x 51 inches
Signed, numbered , and dated
For sale at Surovek Gallery

Born in Cincinatti in 1931, Wesselmann got a degree in psychology in 1954, spent two years in the army during the Korean War. He began to draw in the army and studied drawing at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He worked as a cartoonist in Cincinnati  for a while before moving to New York in 1958 to attend Cooper Union.

The artists he met, and whose works he saw, in New York inspired him to give up cartooning and concentrate on fine art. Wesselmann spent the next forty years in New York, honing his art and having many successful shows in major galleries.

Wesselmann spent more than forty years in New York and, ironically, was a big fan of country music. He not only loved it, but wrote it. In 2005, a year after Wesselmann’s death, one of his original compositions, “I Love Doing Texas With You”, was featured on the soundtrack for Brokeback Mountain.

Tom Wesselmann
Study for Seascape with Cumulus Clouds and Sky, 1991
Pencil and Liquitex on Bristol board
11 x 23 inches
Signed: Wesselmann ’91 (l.r.)
For sale at Surovek Gallery

During the last ten years of his life, Wesselmann dealt with cardiac problems, but did not let his health interfere with his work.

Some of our recently acquired works by Tom Wesselmann were done during the last decade of his life. He spoke about that time, in a 2003 interview, saying that he was going back to the basics of his work. “That was when I understood I was going back to what I had desperately been aiming for in 1959, and I started making abstract, three-dimensional images in cut metal. I was happy and free to go back to what I wanted: but this time not on de Kooning’s terms, but on mine.”

Tom Wesselmann died in New York in 2004. He was survived by his wife, Claire, whom he met at Cooper Union and was his model and partner for more than forty years, and their three children.

His works are part of the permanent collections of The Museum of Modem Art, the Smithsonian, the Whitney, the Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain in Nice, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi, the
Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Museum of Modern Art in Toyama, Japan and many more.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Tom Wesselman or any other the other fine art available at the Surovek Gallery.

Eric Twardzik. The 15 Best New Pieces of Spring Menswear to Buy This Week. May 21, 2021.
Sophie Caraan. Tom Wesselmann and NOAH Deliver Collaborative Collection. Hypebeast. May 22, 2021.
2021-06-21T09:21:01-04:00 June 15th, 2021|

Want to learn more about a particular artist or work? Contact us.