Tom Wesselmann (1931-2004)
Mouth #2
signed, titled and dated 'MOUTH #2 1966 Wesselmann' (on the stretcher)
liquitex and oil on shaped linen
39 x 79 in. (99 x 200.7 cm.)
Painted in 1966.
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 20 November 1998, lot 810
New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, New Paintings by Wesselmann, May-June 1966, p. 23 (illustrated).
Zurich, Thomas Ammann Fine Art, Tom Wesselmann, June 2002, no. 10 (illustrated in color).
London, Hamiltons Gallery, Tom Wesselmann, 2003.
New York, L&M Arts, Tom Wesselmann: The Sixties, February-April 2006, pl. 1 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

"The Mouth Paintings, later to become the Smoker series, were begun in 1965, and Wesselmann finished the first ones early in 1966. The series represented a further evolution in the shaped canvas: a larger scale, closer views, and concentration on body parts. These first works were isolated mouths, with no environmental additions. The earlier ones were the same kinds of painted mouths as one might find in the nude paintings, only they are slightly more detailed. The mouths were primarily in oil, and signalled the fact that Wesselmann's work now and in the future would be in oil. In this medium he felt most free to do whatever he needed to do technically, as oil handles in such a way as to make it better for large-scale details, especially those arrived at through extensive brushing" (Tom Wesselmann writing as Slim Stealingworth cited in Wesselmann, New York, 1980, p. 49).

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