Claes Oldenburg  (American, 1929) 

Born in Sweden, Claes Oldenburg (American, b.1929) is a well-known sculptor associated with the Pop Art movement. While he was a baby, Oldenburg’s family moved to the United States, first settling down in New York, and from 1936 in Chicago, where Oldenburg lived until he attended Yale University. Oldenburg moved to New York in 1956, where he met artists Jim Dine (American, b.1935) and Allan Kaprow (American, 1927–2006), who were working to break the mold of the prior generation of Abstract Expressionists. Oldenburg’s early exhibits in New York feature environments assembled from images, papier mâché, and plaster sculpture, such as his project The Street, which included debris, signs, silhouettes of figures, and other objects evoking an urban setting.

In 1961, Oldenburg staged his most famous happening, The Store, in which he rented space amidst actual shops on the East Side to sell traditional store goods recast as plaster sculptures, exposing the relationship between art and commodities. Naming his performances the product of the invented “Ray Gun Theater,” Oldenburg began to incorporate monumental soft sculptures, made from stuffed vinyl or inflatable materials. These works, sagging with gravity, humorously evoke the human body, forcing viewers to confront everyday objects in radically different circumstances. In 1965, Oldenburg began to design imaginary outdoor monuments, most of which were never realized, with his inflatable Lipstick Ascending, on Caterpillar Tracks being the most notable exception after its installation at Yale University.

From the 1970s onward, Oldenburg focused his attention on large outdoor public sculpture constructed with Cor-Ten steel, such as his Free Stamp, in Cleveland Ohio, Giant Trowel in Otterlo, the Netherlands, and Crusoe Umbrella in Des Moines, Iowa. Oldenburg often collaborated with his wife, artist Coosje van Bruggen (Dutch/American, 1942–2009), on these large-scale projects.

Find Claes Oldenburg artworks for sale worldwide, artworks that sold at auction, a detailed biography, and more information on the artist below.
envelope Get email alerts about this artist!  
Artworks for sale (72)
On artnet Auctions (1)
In Art Galleries (69)
Dealers selling (68)
Dealers Buying (4)
In Upcoming Auctions (2)

Sold Artworks
In Recent Auctions (1)
In Past Auctions (2624)

Exhibitions (3)
Auctions (3)
Art Fairs (1)

artnet Magazine
Articles (61)

More Information
artnet Analytics Reports
Market Reports
* paid service

Artworks for sale (72)

View All   

Claes Oldenburg, Alphabet in the Form of a Good Humor Bar


Claes Oldenburg
Alphabet in the Form of a Good Humor Bar

Sondra Mayer Fine Art
Claes Oldenburg, NYC, Pretzel


Claes Oldenburg
NYC, Pretzel

Sondra Mayer Fine Art
Claes Oldenburg, Typewriter Eraser


Claes Oldenburg
Typewriter Eraser

Sondra Mayer Fine Art
Claes Oldenburg, Orpheum Sign


Claes Oldenburg
Orpheum Sign
end time: Apr 30, 2014 12:10 PM EST
artnet Auctions
View Details
Claes Oldenburg, Plug


Claes Oldenburg
Claes Oldenburg, Sneaker Lace in Landscape with Palm Trees


Claes Oldenburg
Sneaker Lace in Landscape with Palm Trees

Auction: Apr 28, 2014
Phillips New York
View Details | entire auction
Claes Oldenburg, Fire Plug Souvenir - Chicago, August, 1968


Claes Oldenburg
Fire Plug Souvenir - Chicago, August, 1968

Auction: Apr 28, 2014
Phillips New York
View Details | entire auction
Claes Oldenburg, Untitled (Hand Saw)


Claes Oldenburg
Untitled (Hand Saw)
circa 1966

Elrick-Manley Fine Art, Inc.
Claes Oldenburg, Tongue Cloud over London with Thames Ball


Claes Oldenburg
Tongue Cloud over London with Thames Ball

Petersburg Press
Past auction results (2624)  View All
Claes Oldenburg, Fagends Carved in Rock, Fagend Canyon


Claes Oldenburg
Fagends Carved in Rock, Fagend Canyon, 1975
offset lithograph


View Details
Claes Oldenburg, Scissors as Monument (from National Collection of Fine Arts portfolio)


Claes Oldenburg
Scissors as Monument (from National Collection of Fine Arts portfolio), 1967
color lithograph


View Details
Claes Oldenburg, Screwarch Bridge


Claes Oldenburg
Screwarch Bridge, 1981
hard-ground etching, spitbite aquatint and monoprint w/handcoloring


View Details

1929   Born in Stockholm, Sweden
1946 - 1950   Attended Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
1953   Attended the Oxbow Summer School of Painting in Saugatuck, MI, USA
1950 - 1954   Attended the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
1956   Moved to New York City in 1956
1977   Married Coosje van Bruggen (1942–2009)
  Oldenburg currently lives and works in downtown Manhattan, in California, and on a centuries-old estate in the Loire Valley, France.
2013   Claes Oldenburg Exhibitions in 2013:
Claes Oldenburg: The Sixties, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA
Wood, Metal, Paint: Sculpture from the Fisher Collection, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
NeuenGalerie - neu gesehen: Sammlung + documenta-Erwerbungen - Neue Galerie, Kassel, Germany
Pop Goes The Easel: Pop Art And Its Progeny, Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, CT, USA
Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store, MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY, USA
The Pop Object: The Still Life Tradition in Pop Art, Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York City, NY, USA
2012   Claes Oldenburg Exhibitions in 2012:
Claes Oldenburg: Los Anos Sesenta, Museo Guggenheim de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo, Bilbao, Spain
Claes Oldenburg. Arbeiten auf Papier, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany
Claes Oldenburg: Strange Eggs, The Menil Collection, Houston, TX, USA
Claes Oldenburg, The Sixties, Ludwig Museum im Deutschherrenhaus, Koblenz, Germany
Claes Oldenburg, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
Claes Oldenburg - From Street to Mouse: 1959 - 1970, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - MUMOK , Vienna, Austria
2011   Claes Oldenburg Exhibitions in 2011:
Burning, Bright: A Short History of the Light Bulb, The Pace Gallery - 545 West 22nd Street, New York City, NY, USA
Contemporary Drawings from the Irving Stenn Jr. Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California, Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena, CA, USA
Pop Objects and Icons from the Guggenheim Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NY, USA
2010   Claes Oldenburg Exhibitions in 2010:
Painting and Sculpture, Lehmann Maupin, New York City, NY, USA
The Maginot Line, David Castillo Gallery, Miami, FL, USA
Popular, Galerie Thomas Modern, Munich, Germany
Cosa fa la mia anima mentre sto lavorando? Museo MAGA, Gallarte, Italy
Gran Reserva, Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile
Art and Appetite, Davison Art Center, Middletown, CT, USA
Modern and Contemporary Sculpture, Richard Gray Gallery, New York City, NY, YSA
2009   1968. Die große Unschuld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany (group)
2008   The Hands of Art, SMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium
2007   Claes Oldenburg Exhibitions in 2007:
Sculputre By the Way, Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona, Spain
Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen: Double Vision, Waddington Galleries, London, England
2006   Claes Oldenburg Exhibitions in 2006:
Group Show, The Armory Show at Piers 90 and 92, New York, NY, USA
Sculpture By the Way, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Castello di Rivolli, Turin, Italy
2005   Claes Oldenburg Exhibitions in 2005:
Corridor Pin, De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA, USA
Balzac, Petanque, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, USA
2004   Metropolitan Museum of Art entitled Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen on the Roof
1996   Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany
1989   IVAM Centre Julio González, Valencia, Spain, Sept. 15 - Nov. 15.
1988   Claes Oldenburg Exhibitions in 1988:
Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nîmes, France, Feb. 15 - Apr. 9.
Claes Oldenburg: Tekeningen / Dessins, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 27 - Dec. 30.
1977   Claes Oldenburg: Tegninger fra 1954 til 1974, Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Danmark, January 15 - February 13.
1976   Claes Oldenburg Exhibitions in 1976:
Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover, Germany, August 27 - September 26.
Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, Austria, January 14 - February 29.
Kunstverein im Hamburg, Germany, April 3 - May 16
Claes Oldenburg: Zeichnungen, Objekte, Filme, Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt, Germany, May 27 - August 22.
Claes Oldenburg: Unbekannte Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Gouachen 1954-1974, Museum Haus Lange Krefeld, Germany, November 16 - January 4.
1975   Claes Oldenburg Exhibitions in 1975:
Nationalgalerie Berlin, Germany, September 17 - October 26.
Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany, July 17 - August 31.
Claes Oldenburg, Zeichnungen, Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland, May 10 - July 6.
Claes Oldenburg: Zeichnungen-Aquarellen-Collagen, 1954-1974, Kunsthalle, Tübingen, Germany. March 1 - April 20.
1969   Claes Oldenburg, retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA
1962   "New Realists" Exhibition, which defined the Pop Art Movement, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, NY, USA
1959   Claes Oldenburg, exhibit of drawings and sculpture, Judson Gallery, New York, NY, USA
1958   Claes Oldenburg, Red Grooms' City Gallery, New York, NY, USA