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Claes Oldenburg (American, b.b. 1929)


Also known as:  Oldenburg, Claes Thure

When we look at everyday objects, we do not normally envision these items on a grand scale. Claes Oldenburg takes these objects and creates larger than life sculpture replicas. His choice of objects and materials has changed over the years. His award winning, publicly displayed artwork is reflective of the people and the environment around him from soft sculpture to fiberglass.

Claes was born in Sweden in 1929 and immigrated to the United States in 1936 to Chicago. He studied at the Latin School of Chicago, Yale, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He opened his art studio and worked for the City News Bureau of Chicago before becoming a naturalized citizen in 1956 when he moved to New York where he worked in the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration.

Claes has been given awards for his works including the National Medal of Arts, Wolf Prize in Arts, Brandeis University Sculpture Award, Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, American Institute of Architects Medal, and many more. His works are on display in such places as New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Germany, and London. These famous pieces include an upside down ice cream cone, a shuttlecock, and an apple core.

The materials and styles of Claes have changed from his beginnings with his first wife who performed live and toured with Claes, his girlfriend who traveled with him and often photographed him, his second wife whom inspired a domestically sized collection of artwork, and other artists that he has collaborated with.

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