Tom Wesselmann (American, 1931-2004),
Bedroom painting #25
, 1971 (1967-1971)
oil on raw linen canvas, 96 1/4 x 120 1/4 in.; 244.48 x 305.44 cm
Museum purchase with the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, 1982.62; Art © Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Wesselmann’s work, like that of the other Pop artists, captures both the glory and seedy underbelly of American consumer culture. Well known for his series of Great American Nude paintings, Wesselmann focused his attention on the increasing commercialization of sexual imagery during the 1960s. His paintings are typically large, recalling billboards, and his slick advertising aesthetic presents sex as something that is available for public consumption. The collage-like still life in Bedroom Painting #25 includes many clichés of a romantic rendezvous — ripe fruit, flowers, a leopard-skin rug, red curtains, and a nude figure. Rendering everything in the same bold outlines and flat color palette, Wesselmann stresses the overlap between utilitarian objects and those related to desire.