Tom Wesselmann

Tom Wesselmann was born in Cincinnati / Ohio on 23 February 1931. Between 1945 and 1951 he studied at the Hiram College in Ohio before studying psychology at Cincinnati university. One year later he was called up for military service due to the Korea war. Being discontented with his situation he began to draw cartoons at that time. In 1954 he resumed his studies and apart from this he attended the art academy.

He moved to New York and attends Cooper Union School for Arts and Architecture in 1956. He earned his living by working as a cartoonist for several journals and magazines as well as by teaching at a highschool in Brooklyn. At the end of the fifties a series of collages in small format were created being regarded as precursors of the later series ‘Great American Nudes’ and ‘Still life’ in big format. Out of these collages he developed first nude depictions in 1960. His first single exhibition took place at the Tanager Gallery in New York in 1961. One year later he participated in the group exhibition ‘New Realists’ at the Sidney Janis Gallery, his international career with numerous exhibitions started off. The same year his first assemblages with the title ‘Still Life’ came into existence.

In 1963 Wesselmann married his girl-friend and fellow student Claire Selley, who also was his most important model. He began a series of ‘Bathtub Collages’. In 1966 the first of many one-man shows took place at the Janis Gallery. In 1964 Tom Wesselmann began with further series, e.g. ‘Bedroom Paintings’, ‘Seascapes’ and ‘Smokers’, which he continued until the early 1980s. In 1980 he published a treatise about his artistic development under the pseudonym Slim Stealingworth. In 1983 first ‘Metal Works’ were produced, which were based on the artist’s drawings and sketches and which are still in the centre of the artist’s interest. In 1994 a comprehensive retrospective took place at the Kunsthalle in Tübingen. Wesselmann died in New York on 17 December 2004. His choice of trivial motifs, thier monumentalisation, reduction to stereotypes, sexual embelematic as well as the use of bright colours made Wesselmann a co-founder of the American Pop-Art during the 1960s.

Taken from the Tom Wesselmann site

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Love Makes You Dance by JamesPresley


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Elie Nadelman, Birthday

Born into a middle-class Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland, Elie Nadelman was encouraged to study art and music from an early age. During his early twenties, he spent time in Munich, where the important collection of early classical Greek sculpture in the city’s Glyptothek museum made a deep and lasting impression. By 1904, he was living in Paris, where he became a part of the avant-garde circle of artists and intellectuals that included Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Gertrude Stein (who wrote a prose portrait of Nadelman). At a time when many dismissed classical art as outmoded and inimical to modernism, Nadelman daringly asserted its enduring validity as the ultimate standard of aesthetic and formal beauty. In his own work, he struggled to discover and emulate classicism’s underlying principles of balance, harmony, and proportion. Intense and melancholic, poor but utterly passionate about his art, the young sculptor “seemed to live on plaster,” wrote the poet André Gide.


With the outbreak of World War I, Nadelman moved to New York. Although his first impression of the United States was not positive-he described it as “a country of bluffers and snobs”-he soon became enamored of the energy and optimism of American life. Thanks to the support of prominent New York art world figures, such as Alfred Stieglitz and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, his career blossomed. His sources of inspiration also began to take on a new and decidedly American cast, and included the popular culture of his adopted country. Nadelman was delighted by vaudeville performances and other popular amusements, which he sometimes incorporated into his work. He was also fascinated by American folk art, which he admired for its directness of expression, simplicity, and charming lack of pretension. In 1919, he married a wealthy American widow, Viola Flannery, and together they formed a collection of American and European folk art that eventually exceeded 10,000 objects. In 1926, a portion of their country estate in Riverdale, New York, was transformed into the Museum of Folk and Peasant Arts, the first museum of its kind in this country.

The crash of the stock market in 1929 devastated Nadelman financially and emotionally, and forced him to close his beloved museum. He became increasingly withdrawn, stubbornly refusing invitations to exhibit his work. The artist was, however, coaxed into lending three works to an exhibition of American sculpture at Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in 1938 after initially declining the institution’s invitation for submissions. In 1946, plagued by debts, illness, and depression, he took his own life. At the time of his death, Nadelman’s studio was filled with hundreds of small figurines-none of them ever exhibited-created during the last decade of his life.

Nadelman’s first fame and commercial success in America came from bronze and marble busts that overtly-in style, subject matter, and technique-paid homage to the classical past. A number of exceptionally beautiful examples are on view, among them his Woman’s Head (Goddess) (marble, ca. 1916), whose serene expression, idealized features, and crisply chiseled contours are derived from ancient Greek images of female deities. Although Nadelman soon began to experiment with subjects and forms derived from American culture, classical art remained-albeit sometimes quite subtly-a source of inspiration throughout his life. For example, the exhibition includes Woman with Leg Raised, a marble of ca. 1930-35: While the figure’s softly rounded, rather plump physique owes little to canons of classical art, her pose is modeled after the Thorn-Puller, a famous Hellenistic image of a young boy pulling a thorn from his foot.

Folk Art
Beginning around 1917, Nadelman began to incorporate references to European and American folk art in his sculptures. The apparent crudeness of these images, often made of painted wood and carved with doll-like features and limbs, startled many admirers of Nadelman’s classicizing sculptures. (One critic accused him of making a bizarre and grotesque joke.) Today, they are regarded as among Nadelman’s most original and visionary works. The exhibition features a number of these homages to folk art, including the celebrated Orchestra Conductor (Chef d’orchestre) (1918-19, carved 1919-23). In this deceptively simple work, the figure stands stiffly at attention, on clothes-pin like legs; and yet the image is imbued with an extraordinary elegance of line and economy of form.

Dancers and Performers
Another significant and very American source for Nadelman’s art were performers from the circus and vaudeville stage, who astonished him with their athleticism and feats of coordination. One of the most famous works in this genre is Dancer (High Kicker) (ca. 1918-19), in which a female figure is balanced on the tiny ball of one foot as she thrusts her other leg high in the air. Carved from cherry wood, the smooth, simplified forms of the dancer are reminiscent of American folk art. In fact, however, it is a work of enormous sophistication, whose carefully orchestrated curves and counter-curves emulate the formal harmony of classical sculpture. This section also includes The Acrobat (bronze, 1916-20) in which Nadelman captures the fleeting moment of equilibrium in a hand-stand.

Modern Life
Nadelman was an astute observer of the habits and fashions of contemporary life, which he often, quite wittily, transposed into classical high-art modes of representation. His Man in a Top Hat (bronze, ca. 1924), for example, is strikingly similar to antique conventions for representing great military leaders, which showed them bust-length, bearded, and with their helmets pushed high on their head. The exhibition also includes what is undoubtedly Nadelman’s most famous classicizing take on contemporary life-Man in the Open Air (1915). In this life-size bronze, a young gentleman wearing a derby hat strikes a casual pose against a stylized tree. The contrapposto stance, with the weight on one leg, is a hallmark of Greek sculpture. Specifically, the Nadelman bronze alludes to a well-known sculpture by the Greek master Praxiteles, showing a marble faun resting one arm on a tree trunk.

The Late Work
During the last decade of his life-a period of financial hardship and increasing ill health-Nadelman spent his time in seclusion, obsessively producing hundreds of small clay figurines of young girls. The exhibition features forty-three of these works, which were never exhibited during his lifetime and whose purpose remains a mystery. Most are small enough to be held in the hand, and, indeed, must be, for they cannot stand on their own. Plump and child-like in their proportions, some assume coy and flirtatious poses, others appear to be giggling, still others stare out in solemn silence. The so-called Tanagra figures, small clay sculptures of females produced during the Hellenistic period, have been cited as a possible classical source for these works. Some of Nadelman’s figurines wear the conical hat typical of many Tanagra figures. However, many of these diminutive nymphets also bear a striking resemblance to fun-house kewpie dolls. Once again, Nadelman seems to have deftly combined “high” and “low” art, popular imagery and classicism, in the creation of something totally original.

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I Don’t Know Much but I Know I Love You by JamesPresley


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Peaches and Cream

Peaches and Cream by JamesPresley


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Tango at Sunset

Tango at Sunset by JamesPresley


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Dali and Mucha Exhibition, Prague

I went to Prague at he weekend and had an absolutely amazing time.  In the daytime I walked around the city centre, went to a Dali and Mucha exhibition in the same building, and in the evening went to a Jazz concert.

The Dali exhibition changed my mind about his art, because I didn’t used to like him, but there were so many sculptures and paintings, photographs and tapestry you got an insight into his world.  I reccomend it to anyone in that neck of the woods.


Salvador Dalí – Graphic art and sculpture

Salvador Dalí – possibly the most famous Spanisch artist and painter from 20th century, well-known among people for his excentric and very weird behavior which sometimes shocked his admirers and critics. However the fact is that Dalí was one of the best artist of surrealism and symbolism ever. His work is famous for the striking, bizarre, and beautiful images and painterly skills influenced by Renaissance painters. On this exhibition you can meet some of his graphic art, sculptures and ceramic.

and Mucha….

The world´s first Mucha Museum, dedicated to the life and work of the world-acclaimed Czech ART NOUVEAU artist Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939), is housed in the Baroque Kaunický Palace in the very heart of Prague.

A selection of over 100 exhibits comprising paintings, photographs, charcoal drawings, pastels, lithographs and personal memorabilia provides a privileged view into the universe of the artist who is most widely known for the posters he executed for Sarah Bernhardt in the fashionable world of fin-de-siècle Paris.

The exhibiton gives an extensive overview of the artistic work of Alphonse Mucha (1860 – 1939). Special attention is paid to his time in Paris (1887-1904), internationally the most celebrated period of his work. A set of posters from this period is on show, including the most important made for Sarah Bernhardt. A set of his characteristic decorative panels and a number of examples from Documents Décoratifs (1902) give an idea of Mucha´s conception of Art Nouveau.

Pages from his Parisian sketchbooks, never exhibited before, can also be seen. Other decorative objects and three dimensional works including examples of decorated books can be found in the show cases. The work he created after his return to Czechoslovakia (1910-1939) forms a special group, consisting of posters, drawings and oil paintings. At the end of the exhibition we can see a suggestion of what Mucha´s studio in Paris must have looked like, with some of the original furniture, photos of his family and a set of photographs taken in the studio.

A half hour long documentary film about the life and work of the artist is also a part of the exhibition.

Asides that there are other amzing things to see, and here a few piccies I took.