Great American Nude # 90 (deluxe edition)



Wesselmann, Tom

Silkscreen and Offset Lithograph (after the watercolour and liquitext ‘plan’,1966/ 67) Luxury wove, 85 x 55 cm approx. limited to an edition of 100 Made to promote the work of Wesselmann for Galerie Thomas, Munich, Germany 1968, (this version is without the lettering, present on the right hand side of the work). Private Collection, Madrid, Spain, 2015 Custom framed to museum standards




This work was not signed, nor was it editioned by Wesselmann… period! This particular version was published in limited numbers as a deluxe edition after the poster. As for the subject, the bouffant blonde bombshell depicted in this work, is artist’s wife Claire, appearing in one of her incantations in a series of 100 Nudes that Wesselmann began in 1961 and finished in 1973. The work is daring, provocative and unashamedly voluptuous in its representation of brazen sexuality at a time when the United States was experiencing the awakening of raw sexuality against the backdrop of the Vietnam war. With rotating hips, eyeless and mouth agape, one can only wonder what feminist thoughts were used to denigrate Wesselmann, who, by 1968 was a star of the pop art movement. Interestingly, this is the only work by Wesselmann that will not feature in the soon to be released Catalogue Raisonne celebrating this artist’s extraordinary oeuvre. Why? Controversial in its decision to adapt a gouache and liquitex plan of # 90 made in 1966, into the ‘LOOK” advertising campaign and without Wesselmann’s permission, Galerie Thomas and the artist had a dispute that temporarily ended their relationship. In pop art’s greatest irony, Wesselmann’ was said to be furious with Galerie Thomas for taking the “plan” for nude number 90 and transforming this into an advertising campaign. The artist and Galerie later reconciled their “differences”. In an aside, the watercolour and liquitex plan was sold at action last year, 2000, fetching up to $250 000 US, ten times what is has sold for two year earlier, then netting only $25 000 US, for its Japanese collector.


The limited number of 100 of this luxury edition (without the advertising strip) was conveyed to Salon in an email conversation with Ben Brown Fine Art in London. The Gallery’s research into the piece found that only 100 of the works sans text were produced. The well-respected gallerist also revealed that he had one in his inventory that had sold for in excess of 1500 GPS in 2014 / 15.


NOTE: The reproduction of the work ABOVE is in poor condition with staining visible and a watermark for Worthpoint. It was lifted from an internet source. The work offered by salonccr is in in pristine condition.


This is a rare and controversial work from one of the art movement’s greatest forays into coalescing reality and illusion, aesthetics and economics, sexuality as fine art.