On View

Study for a Large Outdoor Sculpture in the Form of a Clothespin

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Study for a Large Outdoor Sculpture in the Form of a Clothespin

Artist: Claes Oldenburg (American, born Sweden, born 1929)
Date: 1972-1974
Medium: Painted cardboard
Overall: 48 1/2 x 6 3/4 x 16 1/2 in. (123.2 x 17.1 x 41.9 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of Mrs. E. T. Meredith, Jr., 1980.31
Accession number: 1980.31
Classification: sculpture
Label TextOldenburg was born in Stockholm in 1929, the son of a Swedish diplomat who was assigned to Chicago in 1936; it was there that the artist grew up and went to school. He pursued his art studies at Yale University and at the Art Instutute of Chicago. Within a few years after moving to New York in the mid 1950s, he had gained international recognition as one of the most creative and innovative artists of his generation. Source: Bulletin, March-April, 1981.
Claes Oldenburg’s innovative approach to sculpture stemmed from his fascination with material and consumer culture. In his sculptural models, drawings, and prints, he proposed enlarging ordinary objects, such as fire hydrants and clothespins, into buildings and monuments to be set in public spaces. In 1967, Oldenburg conceived a monument based on a clothespin, a project he whimsically intended as a "late submission" to the Chicago Tribune’s architectural competition held in 1922. This historic competition was held to solicit designs for the newspaper's new skyscraper headquarters on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. This work is not only the model for Oldenburg’s hypothetical contest entry, but for the 45-foot version eventually erected in Philadelphia in 1976. In cities all over the world, Oldenburg's witty objects have restructured everyday environments. Des Moines is the home of two of Oldenburg’s monumental sculptures: Crusoe’s Umbrella, 1979, stands in Nollen Plaza, and the grounds of Meredith Corporation’s downtown offices feature Plantoir, 2001, an oversize garden trowel.
SignedCO 74 (on base at viewer's right)
Exhibition History"Claes Oldenburg: An Anthology," National Gallery of Art, Feb 12 - May 7, 1995; (Circulated to: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, June 25 - Sept, 10, 1995; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Oct. 7, 1995 - Jan. 21, 1996 (Show continued to Europe without this piece))

"Sweet Dreams, Baby! Pop Art from the Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections," Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA, November 2003

"American Pop: The Work of Art in the Post-Industrial Age," Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA, July 14, 1990 - August 26, 1990

Published References"Claes Oldenburg: An Anthology," exhibition catalogue, Guggenheim Museum & National Gallery of Art, Guggenheim Museum Publications, 1995, color ill. p.384

DES MOINES ART CENTER: SELECTED PAINTINGS, SCULPTURES AND WORKS ON PAPER, Des Moines Art Center, 1985, ref. pp.167 & 169, b/w ill. pl.106, p.168

DMAC Bulletin, Mar./Apr. 1981, b/w cover ill.
entirely unexpected