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Snare Drum by Claes Oldenburg

Snare Drum by Claes Oldenburg

Petersburg Press

Colour Lithograph


Edition Size: 50

Image Size: 14 x 14 inches

Sheet Size: 22.3 x 22.25 inches

Reference: Richard Axsom and David Platzker, 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, no 85 illustrated


Condition: Excellent

Details — Click to read

Image 14 x 14 in. / 35.5 x. 35.5 cm
Paper 22.3 x 22.25 in. / 56.8 x 56.5 cm

Lithograph in five colors on white, thick, moderately textured Hodgkinson handmade paper. Signed by the artist with initials, annotated PP X (Petersburg Press proof X), and dated 72 in pencil, lower center; copyright blind stamp, lower center.

Printed in beige, tan, red, blue, and black, the snare drum at the center of this work seems to jump off the page, bounded by a polymorphous shape and surrounded by small, irregular beige squares. At the center of the drum, a scribble of black in Oldenburg’s characteristic free, spontaneous style, evokes a sound wave or vibration, and the drum itself gives the impression of movement, with its anthropomorphic feet and swaying edges.

Oldenburg, famous for his “soft sculptures”, produced many works relating to Drum Set 1971, a giant soft canvas sculpture representing a drum set. Drum Set is among the artist’s most complex soft sculptures, constructed of vinyl, wood, and canvas. Having once owned a drum set, Oldenburg was reminded of the sounds on a drive through thunderstorms in Colorado. He also made a white “ghost” version of Giant Soft Drum Set, a number of related drawings, and a proposal for a colossal monument in London’s Battersea Park.

Editor Jon Wood writes in Modern Sculpture Reader (Henry Moore Institute, 2012): “Like a soft telephone, the Drum Set is to be ‘heard’ as well as seen, even though it cannot be played or used. Oldenburg thus proposes that the viewer of sculpture also be a listener. Like Beuys, he sees sound as having crucial sculptural implications and his ‘soft sculptures’ as requiring a more imaginative engagement from the gallery visitor than just casual looking. ‘Sound (or absence of it),’ he states, ‘is sculptural technique’.”

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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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