Wesselmann, Tom 1931-2004
WESSELMANN, Tom 1931-2004
See index for CA sketch: Born February 23, 1931, in Cincinnati, OH; died of complications following heart surgery December 17, 2004, in New York, NY. Artist and author. Wesselmann was a pop artist best known for his combination of advertising and fine art. While attending Hiram College in 1951, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and was trained as an aerial photographer. Wesselmann actually first started off his artistic career by drawing cartoons while in the army as a way of venting his frustrations. After being discharged in 1954, he studied art at the University of Cincinnati, earning a B.A. in 1956. Working as a freelance cartoonist, he contributed to a number of magazines, then went back to school. He attended Cooper Union, completing a graduate certificate in 1959. By this time, his interest had already turned from cartoons to the creation of collages. By the early 1960s he had begun to form his distinctive "Pop" art style and his first show was staged in 1961 at the Tanager Gallery. This was followed the next year by solo shows at the Green Gallery, and joint shows with fellow popsters like Andy Warhol at the Leo Castelli Gallery. Wesselmann enjoyed great popularity at the height of the pop art movement of the 1960s, but he was not afraid to evolve. During the 1970s, he focused more and more on the female nude form while simultaneously creating art that was more commercial and less personalized. He also started using other media, including metal, through sculpting. Wesselmann continued to successfully exhibit his art as recently as 2003. His autobiography, Wesselmann (1981), was published under the pen name Slim Stealingworth.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Chicago Tribune, December 23, 2004, section 3, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times, December 23, 2004, p. B11.
New York Times, December 20, 2004, p. A27.
Times (London, England), December 22, 2004, p. 48.
Washington Post, December 22, 2004, p. B6.