Mel Ramos - Buy or sell works
24 June 1935, Sacramento (USA) - 14 October 2018, Oakland, California (USA)
Mel Ramos is among the most prominent proponents of Pop Art, known above all for his depictions of comic heroes and pinup girls. Today the artist lives in California and Spain.
Ramos was born 1935 in Sacramento, California to Portuguese immigrants. He studied art at Sacramento Junior College and the State College. His teacher, the painter Wayne Thiebaud, introduced him to the Bay Area Figurative School, a style far removed from the genre of Abstract Expressionism, which was predominant at the time in the United States. Early in his career, his passion for comic books prompted him to start drawing male superheroes such as Batman, Superman and The Spectre.
His final breakthrough did not come until 1963, after he started to portray female figures from the comic world. Mel Ramos went on to depict commercial pinups, which became his trademark. But his style of presenting explicit femininity in lascivious poses drew the ire of conservative/feminist groups.
Ramos had his first individual exhibition at Galerie Ricke in Kassel in 1966. But a year later, his art was greeted by such raucous protests in Cologne that the local police saw no other option than to cover his exhibition pieces - which depicted sodomy - with cloth. Numerous other, resoundingly popular exhibitions followed nevertheless. However provocative his work may be, it remains popular.
Ramos changed direction at the start of the 1970s, starting a series of Unfinished Paintings. Finding inspiration in the nudes by celebrated artists from the 18th and 19th centuries - including Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Amedeo Modigliani and Édouard Manet - he traded their discreet eroticism for his characteristically suggestive and gaudy style.
He continued to reference famous pieces from art history in works such as I still get a thrill when I see Bill and The Transfiguration of Galatea.
Dorotheum sold his 1964 painting Peek-a-boo Marilyn for €173,800 at auction on 22 November 2016.