Tom Wesselman was born in Cincinnati in 1931, and studied art first in Cincinnati, then in New York at the Cooper Union. His early paintings were evocative of Abstract Expressionism, influenced by Willem de Kooning.
One of the first Pop artists, along with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg, Wesselman started experiments in 1959 with small, abstract collages. Then, in 1960, he adopted advertising images to make bold amusing still lifes and interiors, collages and assemblages using commonplace household items, and often, a highly stylized female nude.
Wesselman began The Great American Nude Series in 1961, a series of large and small works distinguished by number only. Some of the works include real rather than depicted objects, household objects such as a bathtub, radiator, and toaster. He has continued to feature the female nude in every major series of paintings and sculpture throughout his career.