Mouth #11


Tom Wesselmann ( American, 1931 - 2004 )

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General Description

In the early 1960s, pop artist Tom Wesselmann began a series of monumental paintings of blonde nudes languorously posed in interior, nonspecific settings. As the series progressed, he began to zero in on the nude alone, and finally, almost fetishistically, on individual details of her body - a foot, a breast, her mouth. Even though little remained of the overall female figure, the images pulse with seductive power. Slick and evocative, Mouth #11 has billboard scale and aggressive color and is resolutely flat. The ruby red lips and smoldering cigarette are isolated and magnified, with the appearance of an enormous cutout; the frameless canvas is itself the shape of the lips and cigarette. Like much pop art, the painting is playful and ironic. The sultry mouth, its lips full and downturned, evoke a personage at once sensuous and contrived.

Excerpt from

Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Mouth #11 (1968.7.FA)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 306.