Mel Ramos (American, b.1935) is a Pop artist famous for his comic-book like images of naked, voluptuous females. Born in Sacramento, CA, Ramos studied art at Sacramento State College, where he met and studied under Wayne Thiebaud (American, b.1920), who would become a lifelong friend. Ramos taught for several years in the Bay Area before garnering fame in the early 1960s. His work appeared alongside Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–1997) and Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) at a Pop Art show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1963. In 1965, he first developed his most notable works depicting nude pin-up girls alongside mass-marketed products. In works like Butterfinger (1995) and Lucky Lulu (1965), Ramos coupled youthful, ironically perfect female bodies with candy bars, cigarettes, and other branded items. His pieces are well-known for exploring the ways in which modern culture has cast the female body as interchangeable with beauty and consumerism. He has also superimposed his trademark females on famous nudes from art history and classical mythology.

Ramos has exhibited internationally and been featured in numerous museums, including the Whitney and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He has also held teaching positions at California State University, Syracuse University, and the University of Wisconsin.

Timeline

1935
Born in Sacramento, USA
1957
B.A. Sacramento State College, Sacramento, USA
1958
M.A. Sacramento State College, Sacramento, USA
1986
National Endowment for the Visual Artists Fellowship Grant
United States/France Exchange Fellowship
Lives and works in Oakland, USA and Horta de San Juan, Spain

Exhibitions

2013
Pop Art Accrochage, Fluegel-Roncak Gallery, Nuremberg, Germany
Pinups & Portraits - IKON Ltd, Santa Monica, USA
2012
Mel Ramos: 50 Years of Superheroes, Nudes, and Other Pop Delights, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, USA (solo)
Museum Ritter, Waldenbuch, Germany
2011
Galerie Ernst Hilger Vienna, Austria
2010
50 Jahre Pop Art, Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany (solo)
2009
Marcel Strouk, Galerie Rive Gauche, Paris, France (solo)
2008
True Romance, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany
Posing, Kunsthalle Dermstadt, Darmstadt, Germany
2007
Prime Time - Idols and Icons, Vonderbank Artgalleries, Berlin, Germany
Shining Spirit: Westheimer Family Collection, Oklahoma CIty Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, USA
2006
Life as a Legend - Marilyn Monroe, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, USA
2005
Photorealism, Then and Now, Elaine Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, USA
Girls on film, Zwirner & Wirth, New York, USA
2004
Summer Jam, Galerie Burkhard Eikelmann, Dusseldorf, Germany
2003
Galerie Terminus, Munich, Germany
Riva Yares Gallery, Phoenix, USA
Bemarducci-Meisel, New York, USA
2002
Fischerplatz Galerie, Ulm, Germany
Galerie Patrice Trigano, Paris, France
2001
Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, USA
Galeria Alvarez, Porto, Portugal
Palazzo dei Sette, Comune di Orvieto, Italy
Galerie Hilger, Vienna, Austria
Galleria d’Arte Maggiore, Bologna, Italy
2000
Expo 2000, Galerie Burkhard Eikelmann, Cologne, Germany
Galerie Vonderbank, Frankfurt, Germany
Kunsthaus, Cologne, Germany
Galerie Terminus, Munich, Germany
Galerie Levy, Hamburg, Germany
Kunstforum Fränkisches Seenland, Gunzenhausen, Germany
1999
Galerie Burkhard Eikelmann, Essen ,Germany
Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven, Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Museum Moderner Kunst, Passau, Germany
Kunsthaus Hannover, Hanover, Germany
Louis Meisel Gallery, New York, USA
Galleria Civica di Modena, Modena, Italy
1998
Galerie Eikelmann & Auktionhaus Karbsten, Dusseldorf, Germany
Galeria Nova, Bad Homburg, Germany
1997
Kantor Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Mel Ramos - Oleos, Acuareias, Dibujos, Galeria Levy Madrid, Madrid, Spain
1996
Attention to Detail (Realism in All Forms), Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, USA
1991
Mel Ramos - The Heroine of 1962-64, Louis K. Meisel Gallery, New York, USA
1987
The Artists of California: A Group Portrait in Mixed Media, The Oakland Museum, Oakland, USA
1986
Mel Ramos Early Paintings, Galerie Tanja Grunert Cologne, Germany
1984
Automobile and Culture, The Museum of Cotemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA
1980
Mel Ramos: A Twenty Year Survey, The Rose Art Museum, Brandies University, Waltham, USA
1979
Selections from the Frederick Weisman Collection of California Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washinton, D.C.
1974
Pop Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
David Stuart Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
1970
Pop Prints, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
1964
Bianchini Gallery, New York, USA

Public Collections

Kunsthaus Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
Franklin House Collection, San Francisco, CA
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Indianapolis Museum of Art,Indiana, IN
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Neue Galerie Stadt Aachen, Düsseldorf, Germany
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Literature

1994
Rosenblum, Robert. Mel Ramos - Pop Art Images, Benedikt Taschen Verlag, Cologne, Germany
1980
Ramos, Mel. Mel Ramos: Watercolors, Lancaster-Miller Publishers, Berkeley, CA
1975
Claridge, Elizabeth. The Girls of Mel Ramos, Playboy Press, Chicago, IL