Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-

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B. 1929, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN Claes Oldenburg was born in 1929, in Stockholm. His father was a diplomat, and the family lived in the United States and Norway before settling in Chicago in 1936. Oldenburg studied literature and art history at Yale University, New Haven, from 1946 to 1950. He subsequently studied art under Paul Wieghardt at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1950 to 1954. During the first two years of art school, he also worked as an apprentice reporter at the City News Bureau of Chicago, and afterward opened a studio, where he made magazine illustrations and easel paintings. Oldenburg became an American citizen in December 1953. In 1956 he moved to New York and met several artists making early Performance work, including George Brecht, Allan Kaprow, George Segal, and Robert Whitman. Oldenburg soon became a prominent figure in Happenings and Performance art during the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1959 the Judson Gallery exhibited a series of Oldenburg's enigmatic images, ranging from monstrous human figures to everyday objects, made from a mix of drawings, collages, and papier-mâché. In 1961, he opened The Store in his studio, where he recreated the environment of neighborhood shops. He displayed familiar objects made out of plaster, reflecting American society's celebration of consumption, and was soon heralded as a Pop artist with the emergence of the movement in 1962. Oldenburg realized his first outdoor public monument in 1967; Placid Civic Monument took the form of a Conceptual performance/action behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, with a crew of gravediggers digging a 6-by-3-foot rectangular hole in the ground. Beginning in the mid-1960s, he also proposed colossal art projects for several cities, and by 1969, his first such iconic work, Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks, was installed at Yale University. Most of his large-scale projects were made with the collaboration of Coosje van Bruggen, whom he married in 1977. In the mid-1970s and again in the 1990s, Oldenburg and Van Bruggen collaborated with the architect Frank Gehry, breaking the boundaries between architecture and sculpture. In 1991 Oldenburg and Van Bruggen executed a binocular-shaped sculpture-building as part of Gehry's Chiat/Day building in Los Angeles. Over the past three decades, Oldenburg's works have been the subject of numerous performances and exhibitions. In 1985 Il Corso del Coltello was performed in Venice. It included Knife Ship I, a giant Swiss Army knife equipped with oars; for the performance, the ship was set afloat in front of the Arsenal in an attempt to combine art, architecture, and theater. Knife Ship I traveled to museums throughout America and Europe from 1986 to 1988. Oldenburg was honored with a solo exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1969, and with a retrospective organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1995. In 2002 the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York held a retrospective of the drawings of Oldenburg and Van Bruggen; the same year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York exhibited a selection of their sculptures on the roof of the museum. Oldenburg lives and works in New York, California, and a chateau in the Loire Valley, France. Source: Guggenheim Collection Online (https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/artist/claes-oldenburg)
Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Dwan Gallery records, 1959 - circa 1982, bulk 1959-1971 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Brown, Jean, 1911-. Jean Brown papers, 1916-1995 (bulk 1960-1985). Getty Research Library
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-.... Ventilateur mou géant [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Jones, John. John Jones interviews with artists, 1965 Oct. 5-1965 Nov. 12. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-. Franklin Furnace artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Barbara Rose papers, 1940-1993, 1960-1985 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Solomon, Alan R. Alan R. Solomon papers, 1930-1972. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Patty Mucha Papers, Bulk, 1969-1979, 1954-2011 Fales Library & Special Collections
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes. Oldenburg, Claes : [photography bio file]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Esquire, Inc. Records, 1933-1977 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-.... The letter Q as Beach House, with Sailboat [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-.... Soft telephone [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Joan Kron papers, 1959-1971 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn Raymond Saroff papers concerning Claes Oldenburg, 1953-2009 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn Modern Art Department Art and Technology records, 1967-1971, 1967-2007 Los Angeles County Museum of Art Balch Art Research Library
contributorOf Oldenburg, Claes: Artist file
referencedIn William J. Eisenlord photographs, 1953-1976 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-. Large scale urban sculpture projects, 1969-1991 : Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Cleveland Public Library, Main Library
referencedIn Oldenburg, Claes, 1929- : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Johnson, Ellen H. Ellen Hulda Johnson papers, 1939-1980. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-.... Truelle géante II, juillet 1982 [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Robert Delford Brown papers, 1964-2009 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-. Claes Oldenburg interview, 1965 Feb. 19. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Panza, Giuseppe. Giuseppe Panza papers, 1956-1990. Getty Research Library
referencedIn Leo Castelli Gallery. Leo Castelli Gallery records, circa 1880-2000, bulk 1957-1999. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Allan Kaprow papers, 1940-1997 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Breer, Robert. Oral history interview with Robert Breer, 1973 July 10. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Agostini, Peter. Oral history interview with Peter Agostini, 1968. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Oldenburg, Claes : Biographical file. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
referencedIn Carolee Schneemann papers, 1959-1994 Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Snyder, Ellsworth. Ellsworth Snyder collection of Fluxus multiples and ephemera, 1958-1987. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-.... Buttered bread [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Lucy R. Lippard papers, 1940s-2006, bulk 1968-1990 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn Allen Memorial Art Museum. Allen Memorial Art Museum records, 1916-1967. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Auer, James. James Matthew Auer photographs, 1977. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Monterey Public Library. California History Room. Sculpture clippings 1967-2007 Monterey Public Library
creatorOf Higgins, Dick, 1938-1998. Dick Higgins Collection, 1958-2002 UMBC, Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery
referencedIn Judson Memorial Church Archive, 1838-1995 Fales Library & Special Collections
contributorOf Oldenburg, Claes: Artist file Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). Claes Oldenburg. 1969 : Archives pamphlet file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-.... Leopard chair [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Waldorf panel on sculpture (1965 : New York, N.Y.). [Waldorf panel on sculpture] [sound recordings], 1965 Feb. 17 & Mar. 17. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Gertrude Kasle Gallery records, 1949-1999 (bulk 1964-1983) Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn Lippincott, Inc. [Lippincott, Inc. photographs], 1968-1977 and [undated]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Horvat, Frank, 1928-. [Robert Rauschenberg and others at the Robert Rauschenberg Retrospective at the Jewish Museum] [graphic] / Frank Horvat. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-. [Claes Oldenburg : International Art & Artists File]. Libraries Australia
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-. [Proposal for a catalog of my retrospective exhibition in the form of a Swiss cheese sandwich] New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Washington Gallery of Modern Art (Washington, D.C.). Washington Gallery of Modern Art records, 1961-1989 (bulk 1961-1966). Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Wodening, Jane, 1936-. Jane Wodening and Stan Brakhage scrapbooks, 1958-1967. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Castelli Graphics (Firm). Castelli Graphics records, 1969-1997. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-. Claes Oldenburg : artist file : study photographs and reproductions of works of art with accompanying documentation 1930?-1990 [graphic] [compiled by staff of The Museum of Modern Art, New York]. Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection
referencedIn Samuel J. Wagstaff papers, circa 1932-1985 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Agostini, Peter. person
associatedWith Allen Memorial Art Museum. corporateBody
associatedWith Auer, James. person
associatedWith Breer, Robert person
associatedWith Brown, Jean, 1911- person
associatedWith Brown, Robert Delford. person
associatedWith Bruggen, Coosje van. person
associatedWith Castelli Graphics (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith Dine, Jim, 1935- person
associatedWith Dwan Gallery corporateBody
associatedWith Dwan Gallery (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Eisenlord, William J. person
associatedWith Esquire, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Gertrude Kasle Gallery corporateBody
associatedWith Gertrude Kasle Gallery (Detroit, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Gertrude Kasle Gallery (Detroit, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Higgins, Dick, 1938-1998. person
associatedWith Hooton, Bruce Duff, 1928- person
associatedWith Horvat, Frank, 1928- person
associatedWith Johnson, Ellen H. person
associatedWith Jones, John. person
associatedWith Judson Memorial Church (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Kaprow, Allan. person
associatedWith Kron, Joan. person
associatedWith Leavin, Margo. person
associatedWith Leo Castelli Gallery. corporateBody
associatedWith Lippard, Lucy R. person
associatedWith Lippard, Lucy R. person
associatedWith Lippincott, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Art and Technology Program. corporateBody
associatedWith Los Angeles County Museum of Art Modern Art Department. corporateBody
associatedWith Margo Leavin Gallery corporateBody
associatedWith Monterey Public Library. California History Room. corporateBody
associatedWith Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Panza, Giuseppe. person
associatedWith Panza, Giuseppe—Art collections person
associatedWith Platzker, David, 1965- person
associatedWith Rose, Barbara person
associatedWith Rose, Barbara. person
associatedWith Saroff, Raymond. person
associatedWith Schneemann, Carolee person
associatedWith Schneemann, Carolee, 1939- person
associatedWith Snyder, Ellsworth. person
associatedWith Solomon, Alan R. person
associatedWith Szeemann, Harald, 1933-2005 person
associatedWith Wagstaff, Samuel J. person
associatedWith Waldorf panel on sculpture (1965 : New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Washington Gallery of Modern Art (Washington, D.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith Wodening, Jane, 1936- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
New York (State)--New York
United States
New York (State)--New York
Subject
Sculpture
Pop art
Art, American
Public sculpture
Occupation
Sculptors
Photographers
Artists
Function

Person

Birth 1929-01-28

Male

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 39754749