Tom Wesselmann, born on the 23rd of February 1931 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and deceased on the 17th of December 2004, New York, is an American painter who is, with Roy Lichtenstein et Andy Warhol, one of the most famous representatives of the Pop art movement.
Tom Wesselman studied until 1951 at the Hiram College, then studied pychology at the Cincinnati University. In 1952, he is incorporated in the army, and started to draw. Afterwards, Wesselmann started again his studies and enroled in 1954 in Cincinnati Art Academy and in 1956 in the New York Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He was impressed during a visit to the MoMA by Robert Motherwell and Willem de Kooning's works. In 1958, Wesselmann met Claire Shelly, student at the Cooper Union, who became his model and, in 1963, his wife.
Tom Wesselmann realised his first solo exhibition in 1961.
In 1980, Wesselmann published an essay on his painting development under the pseudonyme of Slim Stealingworth.
Tom Wesselmann's work is split in two main series: huge feminine nudes (Great American Nude) and still lives (Still life), made of collages of cut out pictures from magazines and found objects.
Eroticism is constantly present in the Great American Nude series, composed of simplified and flat surfaces. Wesselmann strongly underlines the mouth, the breast, the hips and the thighs, as publicist pictures. The environment is ordinary, living room or bedroom where you can see on the walls portraits of american historic characters (George Washington or Abraham Lincoln) or canvas, notably by Paul Cézanne, Matisse, Mondrian, Motherwell or Lichtenstein.
In 2003, Tom Wesselmann introduced one of his last references to Matisse in Sunset Nude with Matisse Odalisque.