In 1965, Wesselmann began an important series of works, entitled Seascapes. Marked by disembodied body parts--a breast in profile, a leg, or as in the present lot, a luscious, toe-nail painted foot--works in this series share a number of characteristics. Generally set on a beach, with a rich blue/green background and a luscious white mountain of clouds, the works are contemporary distillations of the classical nude. Wesselmann plays with issues of space and proportion, setting the foot dramatically to the front of the picture plane, creating a dream-like atmosphere, one that is heightened by his softly rounded edges of the sky.
The first work in which a foot dominates the composition is Little Seascape #1, a modest sized watercolor and collage from 1965. Although there is a sexually charged element to the image, he was drawn by the simple fact that "the big foot was a shocking and unexpected image" (S. Stealingworth, Tom Wesselmann, New York, 1980, p. 45). The artist persistently insisted that his work is mostly interested in formal concerns, more in line with Matisse than erotica. The Seascapes allowed Wesselmann to focus on his primary concerns which were the relationship of line and flat planes of color.
Interest in Wesselmann's work has increased dramatically over the last four years, both critically and in the marketplace. Seascape #26 is a vintage, large-scale painting by an artist whose recent untimely death has only brought his achievement into sharper focus.