Pace Gallery is saddened to announce the death of renowned Pop artist Claes Oldenburg, who passed away peacefully this morning of Monday, July 18 at the age of 93.
Known for his sculptures, drawings, and colossal public monuments that transform familiar, everyday objects into animated entities, Oldenburg was a leading voice of the Pop Art movement who, over the course of more than six decades, redefined the history of art. Together with his wife and longtime collaborator Coosje van Bruggen, Oldenburg realized over 40 large-scale public projects around the world. Oldenburg and Pace Founder and Chairman Arne Glimcher maintained a friendship for 60 years, working closely since the early years of the artist’s career.
Arne Glimcher states:
“I was honored to have this great friendship with one of the most radical artists of the 20th century. In addition to his inextricable role in the development of Pop Art, he changed the very nature of sculpture from hard to soft, and his influence can be seen to this day.”
Oldenburg first exhibited with Pace in 1962, and had his first solo exhibition with the gallery in 1964, featuring works from The Store. Pace has presented Oldenburg’s work in some 30 exhibitions and produced seven catalogues dedicated to his practice. The gallery also supported Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s creation of the large-scale sculptures Typewriter Eraser, Scale X (1998-99), which is part of the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Balzac Pétanque (2002), which is in the collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and Floating Peel (2002) at the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, among many other projects.
“In public sites, our sculptures reflect both the surroundings and their context, but through our imagination and selective perception—which is what makes them also personal,” Oldenburg once said. “We feel free to use all the approaches that come naturally to our non-monumental works: variations in scale, similes, transformations, a wide range of materials, and, of course, our use of familiar objects.”
In 2021, Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s work was presented in the solo exhibition A Duet at Pace’s New York gallery. The show spotlighted Dropped Bouquet (2021), the couple’s final work together, conceived toward the end of van Bruggen’s life.