Blue, 1996

Hong Kong 2015
Galerie Thomas
Mixed Media
Oil on cut-out aluminium
180.3 x 193.0 x 15.3 (cm)
71.0 x 76.0 x 6.0 (inch)
Signed and dated lower right. "Since 1993 I’ve basically been an abstract painter. This is what happened: in 1984 I started making steel and aluminum cut-out figures. First I painted them, and then hung transparent plastic panels on them and...got the colors and the positioning right (the image was very often fairly complex, and I only had a black-and-white ink drawing: it wasn’t easy to pull out the colors from the complex web of white lines). After finishing the work, I cut the panels in pieces and cast them aside. One day I got muddled up with the remnants and I was struck by the infinite variety of abstract possibilities. That was when I understood I was going back to what I had desperately been aiming for in 1959, and I started making abstract three-dimensional images in cut metal. I was happy and free to go back to what I wanted: but this time not on De Kooning’s terms but on mine". (interview with E. Giustacchini, Stile Arte, 2003, p. 29) In this new abstract format Wesselmann preferred a random approach, and made compositions in which the metal cut-outs shapes resembled to painted gestural brushstrokes. The present work is a typical and early example of such a multi-layered work. According to Claire Wesselmann, the artist cut out this work himself from aluminium and painted it by hand.