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Bust by Claes Oldenburg

Petersburg Press



Edition Size: 60

Image Size: 20.25 x 14.5 inches

Sheet Size: 36 x 27 3/8 inches

Reference: Printed Stuff: Prints, Posters and Ephemera by Claes Oldenburg A Catalogue Raisonné 1958-1996 Hudson Hills Press in association with Madison Art Center Wisconsin, New York, 1997. Illustrated no. 119


Condition: Excellent

Details — Click to read

Etching in one color on white, thick, slightly textured Wookey Hole handmade paper watermarked with the artist’s signature. Signed by the artist and dated 1975 lower right in pencil; numbered lower left in pencil. The edition of 60 includes ten prints in each of six different ink colors: Indigo blue, vermilion, mauve, burnt sienna, astral blue, and yellow-ochre, this listing is for one copy in the color of your choice.

This etching depicts a nude woman from the waist up. Emerging from her cupid’s-bow lips, the tip of a phallus imitates a ball gag, and across her chest, two lines mimic fetish or bondage restraints. Her bound breasts assume the form of male members, which also sprout from her ears. A tangle of lines suggests the woman’s voluminous hairstyle. Her finely-drawn face anchors this raunchy composition, with her shaded eyes, dark lips and curls evoking Clara Bow’s smoldering gaze.

As recorded in the artist’s unpublished notes: “In 1974 an ambitious project for a suite of large-scale etchings was hatched with Paul Cornwall-Jones, for production by Maurice Payne in Petersburg Press’s new Pembroke studios in London. The project would consist of meticulous transcriptions of a certain group of drawings on sexual themes done in the mid-sixties, most of which had never been exhibited. These were supplemented by a number of works in the same vein transcribed from other drawings of the late sixties and early seventies, as well as new drawings invented on the plate.” With complete confidence, the artist freely sketched sexually-charged scenes, infusing them with characteristic humor and charm. Using only crosshatching and line work to define vampy, lithe nymphs and outsized, disembodied members, Oldenburg neatly replicates the look of ballpoint pen in vibrant color. This print is not previously owned and has been stored in the archives of the original publisher since its publication.

A copy of this etching is in the collection of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

Exhibition history: Oldenburg: New Editions (1975)



The Artist

Claes Oldenburg

A very public artist, Claes Oldenburg is the artist behind a number of high profile public sculptures seen in cities in the United States. His works are typically highly creative and include the clothespin near City Hall in Philadelphia, a giant rubber stamp in Cleveland, and a giant tube of lipstick on caterpillar tracks at Yale University. The Swedish-American artist studied art history and literature at Yale University between 1946 to 1950 and was a member of the Pop Art movement in the 1960s. A prize winning artist, Oldenburg has had his work displayed at the Whitney, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery.

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