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  • Stephen Drake

Claes Oldenburg

“Here we grow again…” The Jonathan Club recently enhanced its collection by acquiring a Claes Oldenburg (b.1929) print entitled Sneaker Lace in Landscape–Line State. This two-color lithograph (14 of 55), measuring 57 x 42 ½ inches, was created in 1991 and printed at the world-famous Gemini G.E.L. studio here in Los Angeles. Oldenburg is a Swedish-born American artist who was associated with the Pop Art movement. He was born on January 28, 1929 in Stockholm and his father was then a Swedish diplomat stationed in New York. In 1936 his father was appointed Consul General of Sweden and the family moved to Chicago, where Oldenburg grew up. He studied literature and art history at Yale University from 1946 to 1950, then he returned to Chicago where he took classes at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and where he opened his own studio. In 1953 he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Oldenburg, often in collaboration with his wife, artist Coosje van Bruggen, until her death in 2009, is primarily known as a sculptor of monumental outdoor public sculpture of everyday objects. Millions of people have seen the artwork of Claes Oldenburg without even knowing that it is his work and without visiting a museum, they have simply only had to walk by it. Locally, his Knife Slicing through Wall (1986) can be enjoyed at the Margo Leavin Gallery, his Toppling Ladder with Spilling Paint (1986) at Loyola Law School, and his Binoculars (1991) at the Chiat/Day building (Frank Gehry) in Venice, CA. Other famous works by Oldenburg include the monumental Clothespin near City Hall in Philadelphia, an over-sized Rubber Stamp in Cleveland, and a Giant Tube of Lipstick on Caterpillar Tracks at Yale University. His public space works are included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and Tate Gallery in London, among others.

Sneaker Lace in Landscape–Line State will be added to the Club’s growing collection of contemporary at the Beach and will soon be joined a recent acquisition by the Jonathan Art Foundation, Sunset by Andy Warhol. The piece will be displayed at the Jonathan Beach Club.

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