Alan Cristea Gallery presents its first solo exhibition of work by Tom Wesselmann, whose iconic and often provocative work had a profound impact upon the development of American Pop Art. Alan Cristea Gallery is also pleased to announce that it is the exclusive European representative for prints from the artist’s estate.
Wesselman’s choices of subject matter – nude, still life, landscape – are universally recognisable classical themes from the canon of art history. Over the course of his career, he reinterpreted these using his own distinctive visual language, characterised by a reductive line, bold, flat primary colours and often the inclusion of symbols of American culture and patriotism. Works included in this exhibition, such as Mixed Bouquet with Leger and Monica Sitting with Mondrian, clearly demonstrate his respect for a European painterly tradition, but are suffused with wit and a sense of playfulness indicative of that new generation of American artists.
As with many of his Pop contemporaries, Wesselmann appropriated source material not just from fine art but from everyday sources such as advertising, magazine pin-ups and household products. His egalitarian approach applied also to his innovative use of materials, bringing industrial paint and metals into his practice.
The exhibition at the Alan Cristea Gallery focuses on prints made during the latter half of Wesselmann’s four-decade career, including some of his most significant etchings, aquatints and screenprints. Works from his influential Great American Nude series (begun in 1961) will be included in the exhibition. The series was born from Wesselmann’s desire to create an iconic genre in the same way that Steinbeck, Mailer and Hemingway sought to create the ‘Great American Novel’.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue featuring a text by Marco Livingstone, the preeminent writer on English and American artists of the Pop Art generation.