Still Life #2

Still Life #2
Tom Wesselmann (American, 1931-2004)
Oil and collage on board 
48 x 48-1/8 in. (121.9 x 122.2 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Mr. Fred Heim 
Accession Number:
Art © Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY Reproduction of this image, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA 
Not on View

Like many artists of the 1950s and 1960s, Tom Wesselman responded to postwar consumerism by incorporating elements of popular culture into his paintings. Unlike Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein, however, Wesselman was less concerned with criticizing or celebrating these aspects of contemporary life and more interested in the formal characteristics that these references brought to his work. In Still Life #2 the artist assembles a rather traditional scene, updated in both subject and style for midcentury artist and viewer. Several of the objects have been cut and pasted—even the elegant floral still life at center—and this play among the various depictions of reality was at the heart of his artistic interests. Wesselman felt that the dialogue between painted objects and collage “helps establish a momentum throughout the picture... At first glance, my pictures seem well behaved, as if—that is a still life, OK. But these things have such crazy give-and-take that I feel they get really very wild.”


[Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, sold to];
Fred Heim, gift 1969 to;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, 1969-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, 1975.

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