Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929) and Coosje van Bruggen (1942-2009)
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Collection of Robert and Sylvia Olnick
Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929) and Coosje van Bruggen (1942-2009)

Paradise Pie IV (Red)

Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929) and Coosje van Bruggen (1942-2009)
Paradise Pie IV (Red)
signed, signed with the artist's initials, numbered and dated 'CO '07 Cos II/VI' (on the underside)
acrylic on cast aluminum
6 ½ x 9 ¼ x 6 in. (16.5 x 23.5 x 15.2 cm.)
Executed in 2007. This work is number two from an edition of six plus one artist's proof and one trial proof.
Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
Acquired from above by the present owner, 2007
Triennale di Milano, Arts & Foods: Rituals since 1851, April-November 2015, p. 565, no. 673 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Roslyn Harbor, New York, Nassau County Museum of Art, Feast for the Eyes, July-November 2016 (another example exhibited).
Special notice
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Lot Essay

Claes Oldenburg, one of the founding figures of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s, has defined an extraordinary career from his signature ability to transform the commonplace, everyday objects of daily life into remarkable objects via the medium of sculpture. In Paradise Pie IV (Red), the artist’s representation evokes the advertising industry’s depictions of commodities as alluring, luscious, mouthwatering and more-real-than-real. The subject—here the classic American dessert, cherry pie a la mode—is one that the artist has returned to time and again since the earliest days of a career which stretches back to the early 1960s. The present work offers the viewer Oldenburg’s unique take on the humble subject matter and achieves a transformation of the ordinary into the sensuous and mysterious.

Here, the artist presents a cherry pie, stuffed to overflowing, paired with vanilla ice cream enticingly melting into the pie filling. The flowing, yielding shape of the sculpture belies the fact that it is made of hard aluminum material. In his choice of materials for Paradise Pie IV (Red), Oldenburg alters our expectations of everyday things and here an object usually soft becomes hard, and through a shift in scale, something small in real life becomes metaphorically large in the artist’s sculptural rendering. Oldenburg was interested in merging painting and sculpture, an approach clearly in evidence in the present work, where the two media mutually support and reinforce each other, both media at the forefront, both helping to define the piece. Oldenburg was one of a select group of influential artists who, during the transformative decade of the 1960s, helped to redefine the parameters of sculpture, introducing new subject matter, materials, and methods of display. In its nontraditional subject matter, choice of materials and quirky, playful irreverence, Paradise Pie IV (Red) typifies the new approach to sculpture pioneered by Oldenburg and other sculptors who helped push forward their medium.

Paradise Pie IV (Red) also has its roots in the anarchic tendencies of Dada and Surrealism and in Marcel Duchamp’s overturning of conventional art methods and subject matter. Early in his career, in 1961, Oldenburg stated, “I am for an art that is put on and taken off, like pants, which develops holes, like socks, which is eaten, like a piece of pie” (quoted in C. Oldenburg, G. Celant, Claes Oldenburg: An Anthology, New York, 1995, p. 96).

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