Still Life #12

Media - 1986.23 - SAAM-1986.23_1-000001 - 9566
Copied Tom Wesselmann, Still Life #12, 1962, acrylic and collage of fabric, photogravure, metal, etc. on fiberboard, 4848 18 in. (122122.1 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1986.23, © 1962, Tom Wesselmann

Artwork Details

Still Life #12
Not on view
4848 18 in. (122122.1 cm)
back upper center in paint: Wesselmann back upper center in crayon: Wesselmann 62 back upper left in crayon: Gasl#12 (partially illegible) back upper left in pencil: 12 back upper right in felt-tipped pen and ink: B1 back upper left in crayon: Green Gallery/15 W 57 NYC
© 1962, Tom Wesselmann
Credit Line
Museum purchase
Mediums Description
acrylic and collage of fabric, photogravure, metal, etc. on fiberboard
  • Still life
  • Still life — fruit — apple
  • Still life — fruit — lemon
  • Still life — foodstuff — beverage
  • Still life — art tool — camera
  • Still life — art tool — camera
  • Still life — foodstuff — meat
  • Still life — other — container
  • Still life — other — container
  • Still life — other — cookware
Object Number

Artwork Description

Still Life #12 recasts the established tradition of still-life painting in the pop language of American consumer culture. Wesselmann's tabletop scene is a landscape of temptation and bounty, combining advertising images of frosty beverages and a glistening ham with painted facsimiles of fruit and a redchecked tablecloth. The luscious images point to multiple modes of desire. The apple and breast-shaped lemon perch on the threshold of a Garden of Eden while, below, the trussed ham and two strategically placed cans of "Bustelo" coffee stand in for one of the female figures that Wesselman made famous in his Great American Nude series. The image of a camera staring toward the quasi-figure in the foreground further suggests the influence of commercial photography, including pin-up imagery, on Wesselman's art.