Claes Oldenburg
American artist



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Claes Oldenburg
American artist
Average: 5 (2 votes)

Birth Date

January 28, 1929

Place of Birth

Sweden, Stockholm

More about Claes Oldenburg

ajardini's picture

Sr. Editor

Born 28 January 1929

Swedish sculptor who has been great for tourism in cities around the world. His huuuuge whimsical sculptures draw happy cash spending crowds to public parks and town squares. 

For years he created these oversized everyday objects with his wife Coosje van Bruggen. Most pieces are signed by both artists. But why mess with sexist art traditions? We only recognize his contribution.  

Oldenburg was lucky and not so lucky in love.  He was married to two great artists (Hannah Wilke briefly, and then Ms. van Bruggen for three decades). Both died from cancer, which you might think would suck the joy right out of his work.

But whether it’s an enormous clothespin in Philadelphia or a big ol’ shuttlecock in Kansas City, they are sure to make you smile.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Claes Oldenburg

Claes Oldenburg (born January 28, 1929) is an American sculptor, best known for his public art installations typically featuring large replicas of everyday objects. Another theme in his work is soft sculpture versions of everyday objects. Many of his works were made in collaboration with his wife, Coosje van Bruggen, who died in 2009; they had been married for 32 years. Oldenburg lives and works in New York.

Early life and education

Claes Oldenburg was born on January 28, 1929 in Stockholm, the son of Gösta Oldenburg and his wife Sigrid Elisabeth née Lindforss. His father was then a Swedish diplomat stationed in New York and in 1936 was appointed Consul General of Sweden to Chicago where Oldenburg grew up, attending the Latin School of Chicago. He studied literature and art history at Yale University from 1946 to 1950, then returned to Chicago where he took classes at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While further developing his craft, he worked as a reporter at the City News Bureau of Chicago. He also opened his own studio and, in 1953, became a naturalized citizen of the United States. In 1956, he moved to New York, and for a time worked in the library of the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, where he also took the opportunity to learn more, on his own, about the history of art.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Claes Oldenburg.