The Robert Miller Gallery in New York opens its second exhibition of work by Tom Wesselmann on view until April 22. Wesselmann created this group of paintings in 2003 and 2004 with the understanding that they would be shown together in this exhibition. They are both his largest single panel works since the 1960s and the last major paintings he completed prior to his death in December, 2004. In his essay accompanying the catalogue for this exhibition, Judd Tully calls these works the final products, the long distilled nectar from four decades of virtually non-stop work. In this continuation of works from the previously exhibited Sunset Nudes series, Wesselmann seeks new ways of expressing the nude figure, deconstructing the form while increasing its prominence in the piece.
In an essay on the Sunset Nudes, Art Historian Robert Rosenblum has noted, for Wesselmann, the female body is constantly fused and equated with an organic world of pulsating erotic life. The compositional integration of the form into the surrounding environment is heightened here by the inner white center of the nude, which guides the eye and creates a larger gesture and sense of movement.
Also apparent in these works is Wesselmanns evocation of an old-master ancestry, as Rosenblum describes it, here visible in references to Matisse and Man Ray. Although he was ill at the time that these works were created, Wesselmann was driven to bring his final work, Man Ray at the Dance, to completion before his death.
Born in Ohio in 1931, Tom Wesselmann moved to New York City in 1956 to continue his studies at the Cooper Union Art School. He exhibited worldwide continually since the early 1960s. His works are included in museum collections throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; the National Galerie, Berlin; the Musée dArt Moderne et dart Contemporain, Nice; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition and includes an essay by Judd Tully.