Daily Management Review

A Look Back: Jeffrey Sturges on Tom Wesselmann


Jeffrey Sturges is the Director of Exhibitions at the Estate of Tom Wesselmann. In conjunction with the exhibition “Tom Wesselmann: After Matisse” at the Almine Rech Gallery, we spoke with him about Wesselmann’s practice and the artist’s life-long admiration for Matisse.

by Tatsiana Zhurauliova

Jeffrey Sturges
Jeffrey Sturges
How and why did Tom Wesselmann become interested in Matisse?
Jeffrey Sturges. To answer this question, we can turn to the 1980 monograph on Wesselmann, authored by Slim Stealingworth. But it is actually Tom Wesselmann himself; he put the monograph together with the publisher Harry N. Abrams, who was also an important Wesselmann collector. And in the monograph, Wesselmann writes about finding a book of Matisse ’s reproductions that he begins to study. He describes going through the book, systematically looking at the paintings, and trying to understand Matisse’s formal invention. In that moment, Wesselmann is not looking for subject matter, instead he is looking for new ways to make a picture—locating himself within an art historical lineage, in relation, but also in opposition to it.

Click here to read more!