John Wesley (B. 1928)
John Wesley (B. 1928)

Seascape with Frieze of Girls

John Wesley (B. 1928)
Seascape with Frieze of Girls
signed, titled, inscribed and dated "'SEASCAPE WITH FRIEZE OF GIRLS" (ONE OF TWO) John Wesley 1985' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
72 x 84 1/8 in. (182.9 x 213.7 cm.)
Painted in 1985.
Reinhard Onnasch, Berlin
Zwirner & Wirth Gallery, New York
Gallery Hyundai, Seoul
Acquired from the above by the present owner
G. Celant, ed., John Wesley, Milan, 2009, pp. 281 and 519, no. 462 (illustrated).
Seoul, Gallery Hyundai, American Funnies - Roy Lichtenstein, John Wesley, Robert Crumb, May 2006.
New York, Zwirner & Wirth, John Wesley: A Collection, May-June 2006, n.p. (illustrated).
Sale room notice
Please note Fredericks & Freiser, New York should be removed from the provenance and replaced with Gallery Hyundai, Seoul.

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Kathryn Widing
Kathryn Widing

Lot Essay

In his 1985 painting Seascape with Frieze of Girls, the tableaux of naked women takes as its starting point one of the most enduring themes in classical art, updated for a Minimalist and Pop aesthetic. This large canvas is tantalizing without being titillating, showing just enough of the female figure whilst leaving the rest to the imagination. In addition to its visual clarity, the painting also illustrates Wesley’s use of repetition with its frieze of three nudes unfolding across the canvas’ surface, both static and dancing, like the endlessly multiplying brooms in the Walt Disney film Fantasia.

An early example of Wesley’s unique painting style, this work upends the conventions of the comic strip. Just like his Pop predecessors Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Wesley aims to depict the world as he sees it and his aesthetic and artistic process draws attention to his close relationships with Minimalist artists such as Donald Judd or Dan Flavin. However, despite their friendships, Wesley developed a language of his own, translating it into a possible reality and then via painting, eliminates the seams from the cutout materials often sourced from the pages of a book or a newspaper. Wesley leaves no areas for interpretation, and in the process, deletes the distinction between Surrealism, Minimalism and Pop-Art.

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