Artist / Artwork

Claes Oldenburg Prints

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On 28th of January in the year of 1929, Claes Oldenburg was born in Stockholm to Swedish parents. However, his father got stationed in New York and later in Chicago which is eventually where he grew up. Right from the beginning, Oldenburg had been enthusiastic about literature and history of the arts which is why he decided to study them at Yale University, following this up with classes from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Before opening his own studio, he worked with the City News Bureau of Chicago as a reporter and simultaneously developed his craft further. 1953 was a special year for the artist as he opened his own studio and also became a naturalized citizen of United States of America. Three years after this event, he shifted to New York and was engaged in part-time work with the library at the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration.

In New York, Oldenburg met a lot of other fellow artists and engaged with them, toying around in his mind were new ideas. Of them, one was soft sculpture and the first one he ever made was initially untitled but later came to be known as the ‘Sausage’. A few years later, Oldenburg also made many ‘happenings’ as his association with the Pop Art Movement grew. These happenings were performance arts which were related to the productions that were performed in USA back then.

In 1963, Oldenburg decided to move to Los Angeles for the simple reason that it was as different from New York as one place could be. After having conceived AUT OBO DYS, the performances of which took place in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ parking lot, Oldenburg’ attention was diverted towards imaginary outdoor buildings for which he made drawings and projects; the first of which was Placid Civic Monument. A drawing was also contributed to the Moon Museum by Oldenburg in the year 1969.

An artist’s path to recognition is never easy and Oldenburg learned it the hard way. A lot of his art was ridiculed to a great extent before gradual acceptance followed.

Real popularity followed him when he started focusing on public works exclusively in the early 1970s. ‘Three Way Club’ was his first public work which received commission from Oberlin College and the National Endowment for the Arts also gave it a grant. After this project, Oldenburg was also endowed with an honorary degree from Oberlin College. Later, he went on to receive honorary degrees from the Art Institute of Chicago, Bard College in New York, and Royal College of Art in London amongst many others.

Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, who was a part-Dutch and part- American art historian, collaborated for some iconic art works which were received accolades worldwide. She was also his second wife. Together, they also won honorary degrees from numerous reputed art-institutes across continents.

One of his greatest achievements has been the sale of his sculpture titled – Typewriter Eraser sold in 2009 at Christie’s New York for $2.2 million.

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