Claes Oldenburg



Claes Oldenberg (1929-2022) is a Swedish-born American artist, renowned for his contribution to Pop art by way of his iconic soft sculptures and public installations.

In 1962, Oldenburg debuted his revolutionary soft sculptures at the Green Gallery in New York. Three giant, squishy forms in the shape of an ice cream cone, a hamburger, and a slice of cake, swelled across the gallery floor, forever changing the way we define sculpture. It has been noted that Oldenburg's early work was largely inspired by Yayoi Kusama's hand-sewn phallic-shaped soft sculptures that enveloped the surfaces of ironing boards, sofas, and boats. 

Ranging from the infamous voluminous hamburgers (famously on display at the AGO) to ballistic badminton shuttlecocks, Oldenberg's colossal sculptures replicate commonplace objects on a grand scale, often disrupting the environment they inhabit with curious and playful subtexts. The confrontational nature of Oldenberg's sculptures places an emphasis on the viewer, asking us to reconsider our relationship to these recognizable, but obscure, objects. 

During the mid-1970s, Oldenburg created a handful of erotic etchings featuring humorous juxtapositions and zany power dynamics. In this work, Oldenburg details a group of women, their languorous figures are strewn about as they surround the oversized phallus behind them. 

This intricate etching is based on the 1965 drawing "Clinical Study Towards a Heroic-Erotic Monument in the Academic / Comic Style", now in the permanent collection at MoMA.

Today, Oldenburg's work is enjoyed across the globe with public sculptures spanning over 11 countries across North America, Europe, and Asia. Along with his wife and frequent collaborator, Coosje van Bruggen, Oldenburg was the recipient of numerous accolades including Distinction in Sculpture, Sculpture Center, New York (2002); and Medal Award, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2004). 

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"Study for a Monument in the Heroic/Erotic/Academic/Comic Style"

USA, 1975

Etching printed in mauve on a Wookey Hole handmade paper

Signed in pencil, dated, and numbered

From an edition of 60

25.5"H 32.75" (work)


Very good condition.

Publisher: Petersburg Press, London and New York

Literature:  Printed Stuff: Prints, Posters, and Ephemera by Claes Oldenburg, 1958-1996. Hudson Hills Press in association with Madison Art Center Wisconsin, New York, 1997. Illustration no. 120 

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