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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Tom Wesselmann Draws

Tom Wesselmann, Drawing for Mouth #3 1963, charcoal on paper, 48 x 63 1/2 inches Tom Wesselmann, Drawing for Mouth #3 1963, charcoal on paper, 48 x 63 1/2 inches

Tom Wesselmann Draws is the most comprehensive exhibition of drawings by the artist that has ever been assembled. Many of the 108 works have never been seen outside the artist's studio in New York. In the 1960s, Tom Wesselmann was one the key leaders in the Pop Art Movement along with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Robert Indiana. He was a brilliant colorist, superior draftsman and innovator of new techniques, who devoted his life to his art and his family.

The exhibition, which covers drawings from his entire career spanning 1959-2004, was originally curated in 2003 by Wesselmann and his wife Claire and encouraged by Emilio Steinberger, Director of the Haunch of Venison Gallery in New York. Wesselmann passed away in 2004 at the age of 73 and the show was put on hold. Five years later, Claire felt ready to revisit the project. “Working in collaboration with the Museum on the installation of the exhibition, his wife Claire will apply her own aesthetic sensibilities to capture the essence of her husband’s oeuvre,” says Greenberg. As stated by Aimee Walleston in the December 2009 issue of Art in America, “Claire Wesselmann is as alive as in Wesselmann’s drawings, with a keen intellect and a uniquely personal take on her husband’s practice.” 

“Some supporters have urged me to put together a drawing show because I have never had a major drawing show. The project interests me from another point of view in that I have made drawings in ways more adventurous than what many envision...The scope of the show will be to present a well edited selection of the best drawings available covering the full range of my varied production. I don't view the show as delineated by decades in any way, but as a continuity of drawings as they occurred...A show that will enlarge the common perception of what a drawing is to a surprising and rewarding degree.”  –Tom Wesselmann, New York City, 2003

The exhibition opened at Haunch of Venison in November 2009 and travelled to the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University in October 2010. The Kreeger Museum will complete the run of the show. The catalogue, Tom Wesselmann Draws, Haunch of Venison, New York, 2009 accompanies the exhibition.  Tom Wesselmann: His Voice and Vision by John Wilmerding, Rizzoli, 2008 will also be available.

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