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  • Figure and Phallus I by Claes Oldenburg

Figure and Phallus I by Claes Oldenburg

Petersburg Press



Edition Size: 60

Image Size: 23.5 x 17.7 inches

Sheet Size: 36 x 27.5 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. 118


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. 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. A copy of each color is available: this listing is for one copy in the color of your choice.

This etching features a nude woman in high heels. Whipping her head to the left, she gazes intently past the viewer through a wild tangle of tresses. A sunhat with a bow nearly floats off her head, a tongue-in-cheek nod to modesty. Taking a wide stance, she straddles a comically large phallus, which springs up eagerly from the ground like a plant. Unusually, this etching was drawn directly onto the plate from the artist’s imagination and not from a life model. This spontaneity is visible around the woman’s bust and arms, where Oldenburg sketched several variations of her anatomy, giving the impression of a figure in movement. Beside her left breast, Oldenburg extends this halo of lines by cheekily doodling a small, floating phallus.

As recorded in the artist’s unpublished notes: “In 1974 an ambitious project for a suite of large-scale etchings was hatched with Paul Cornwall-Jones, for production by Maurice Payne in Petersburg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.

A copy of this etching is in the collections of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis.



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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