Tom Wesselmann Great American Nudes
3 ICONIC TOM WESSELMANN GREAT AMERICAN NUDES
Here are four iconic examples, an iconic graphite drawing, a miniature plastic multiple and two limited edition prints, from the Great American Nude series. Tom Wesselmann epitomizes Pop art; the Great American Nude title embraces the era's fantastic public spirit, which spawned similar aspirational narratives in literature, and the society at large.
Wesselmann's Great American Nudes consciously reference the reclining female nude's art-historical importance, from Titian to Matisse. The model for the majority of Wesselmann's Great American Nudes was Claire Selley, whose beauty and sexuality embodied his own sexual awakening. Claire, who later became Mrs.Tom Wesselmann is depicted with the power of Matisse's Odalisques, presenting an archetypical figure of feminine confidence and sexuality.
Wesselmann deliberately left the faces blank in the Great American Nude series to avoid suggestion of a portrait, the punchy outlines of disembodied lips and breasts forming the figure's only defined features. Wesselmann leaves the erotic potential open to subjective interpretation and the imagination epitomizes Pop art. Wesselmann's title embraces the era's fantastic public spirit, which spawned similar aspirational narratives in literature, The Great American Novel and society at large, The American Dream.