Claes Oldenburg 1929-2022


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Claes Oldenburg is an American Sculptor known for his public, oversized sculptures of consumer goods. He grew up in Chicago, as his father was the Consul General of Sweden to Chicago. Oldenburg studied Literature and Art History at Yale University from 1946 6o 1950 before returning to Chicago to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Oldenburg became a U.S. citizen in 1953 and later relocated to New York in 1956, where he met artists as Red Grooms, Jim Dine and Allan Kaprow. He first started making his large-scale soft sculptures in 1957, utilizing materials as newspaper and women's stockings. Oldenburg was given his first solo exhibition in 1959. In the 1960s, the artist spent much of his time on the development of Happenings. During the 1970s, he mainly worked on public commissions as Lipstick on Caterpillar Tracks (1969) at Morse College and Spoonbridge and Cherry (1985-1988) at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Typewriter Eraser (1976), which was created for the National Gallery of Art, sold for $2.2 million at auction in 2009. Oldenburg expanded his commissions at the turn of the century, completing massive international projects in Tokyo, Germany and Italy. He has received many distinguished awards for his work, including the Wolf Prize in Arts (1989) and the National Medal of Arts (2000).


Claes Oldenburg's work is featured in the permanent collections of various international institutions including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the San Francisco MoMA, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Austria, the MCA Chicago, the MCA in Los Angeles, the MoMA, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Musée National d'Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.


Related Categories: Happenings, Pop Art, Art That Plays With Scale, Art of the 1960s, Post-War American Art, Representation of Everyday Objects, Large-Scale Sculpture, Popular Culture, Performance Art, Sculpture.