Tom Wesselmann

(American, 1931 - 2004)

“Growth is the goal, and that goal is never complete – art must be in constant change.”

-Tom Wesselman


            American artist Tom Wesselman was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended Hiram College from 1949 to 1951 then transferred to the University of Cincinnati where he majored in psychology. In 1952 he was drafted into the US Army where he first became interested in cartooning and considered an art related career. After he was discharged he completed his degree in psychology in 1954. Afterward he took up drawing at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.


            He moved to New York after acceptance at the prestigious Cooper Union. A Cooper Union’s Green Camp trip to rural New Jersey in 1958 helped the artist realize he wanted to pursue painting rather than cartooning. Wesselman noted he derived inspiration from other artists in addition to his education, such as Willem de Kooning but was determined to remain independent and find his own unique style.


            After graduation, Wesselmann along with Marc Ratliff and Jim Dine founded the Judson Gallery. There they exhibited small collages in a two-man exhibition with Ratliff. In addition, he began teaching art at a Brooklyn public school and also at the high school of Art and Design.


Wesselman’s great step into the art world began with his series the Great American Nude in 1961. He kept his color palette in the series associated to that of patriotic motifs, such as red, white, blue, and complimentary neutrals such as gold or khaki. After his nude series was completed, he began the Standing Still Life pieces that magnified common household objects such as a toothbrush to a grand scale on the canvas in bold colors. The Smokers series was also magnified, the focus being disembodied hands or lips with curling smoke. The vast majority of Wesselman’s pieces all have that style.


Wesselman’s first solo show was held at the Tanager Gallery, following a one-man exhibition at the Green Gallery. Through these shows he was able to meet various collectors. He held many other exhibitions in the United States and abroad, namely the European continent. Although Wesselmann was associated with the American Pop Movement he was not a fan of his inclusion for his dislike of labels.


American Fine Art, Inc. is proud to feature the original works and limited editions of Tom Wesselmann. Visit our 12,000 sq. ft. showroom in Scottsdale, AZ or call today. Our website is offered only as a limited place to browse or refresh your memory and is not a reflection of our current inventory. If you need to learn more about collecting, pricing, value or more information, your International Art Consultant will assist and provide the one on one attention you deserve.  We hope you find our website helpful and look forward to seeing you in Scottsdale soon.