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Claes Oldenburg

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Claes Oldenburg

American, (1929–2022)
Claes Oldenburg was a Swedish-born American sculptor known for his innovative and humorous reconstructions of everyday objects in both large-scale public installations and soft materials. Along with Tom Wesselmann, Jasper Johns, and Allan Kaprow, Oldenburg is associated with the Pop Art movement. Born on January 28, 1929 in Stockholm, Sweden, his family moved to America in 1936. Oldenburg went on to study at Yale University before working at the City News Bureau in Chicago and attending the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York in 1953. His early shows featured objects assembled with images, papier mâché, and plaster. In 1957, Oldenburg created his first “soft sculpture,” Sausage, a free-hanging woman's stocking stuffed with newspaper. Thereafter, his work began to increase in scale, beginning with The Store (1961), an immersive installation created within a rented storefront in the Lower East Side where the artist sold food and store goods recast as plaster sculptures. By the 1970s, Oldenburg focused his attention on monumental outdoor public sculpture of everyday objects, going to create Free Stamp in Cleveland and Clothespin in Philadelphia. Oldenburg often collaborated with his wife, the artist Coosje van Bruggen, until her death in 2009.

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