Mel Ramos is an American artist who is a known representative of pop art. Born in Sacramento in 1935 he witnessed the rapid change that consumerism bought to the American society. He studied at Sacramento State College where he devolped a unique figurative style. Mel Ramos is associated with the Bay Area Figurative School. He has held different positions at American universities such as California State Univeristy.
- Born: 24. July 1935
- Place of birth: Sacramento, CA, USA
- Died: 14. October 2018
- Nationality: American
- Studied at: Sacramento State College
- Similar artists: Jim Dine, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana
- Era: contemporary art
- Stylistic direction: Pop art, figurative art
Mel Ramos artworks and editions were subject to many exhibitions in the United States and Europe, particularly Germany and Austria.
|Mel Ramos||Peek-a-boo 4||6000 Euro||Original print||31.4 x 22.8 in||limited edition of 199||yes||yes||05.06.2019|
|Mel Ramos||Mint Pattie||price on request||Original print||31.6 x 23 in||limited edition of 120||yes||yes||05.06.2019|
|Mel Ramos||Hunt for the Best||5000 Euro||Original print||22 x 18.5 in||limited edition of 199||yes||yes||05.06.2019|
|Mel Ramos||Hav-a-Havanna #5||12000 Euro||Original print||21 x 35.2 in||limited edition of 199||yes||yes||05.06.2019|
|Mel Ramos||Hav-a-Havanna #7||12000 Euro||Original print||29.9 x 44.4 in||limited edition of 199||yes||yes||05.06.2019|
|Mel Ramos||Miss Kiss||6000 Euro||Original print||31.4 x 23.5 in||limited edition of 199||yes||yes||05.06.2019|
|Mel Ramos||Sweet Odalisque||3500 Euro||Original print||22.4 x 31.4 in||limited edition of 199||yes||yes||05.06.2019|
|Mel Ramos||Corvette||4000 Euro||Original print||23.2 x 33.8 in||limited edition of 199||yes||yes||05.06.2019|
|Mel Ramos||Doublemint Twins||6000 Euro||Original print||31.1 x 23 in||limited edition of 199||yes||yes||05.06.2019|
|Mel Ramos||Caramia Caramello||10000 Euro||Original print||44.8 x 27.5 in||limited edition of 199||yes||yes||05.06.2019|
Limited edition prints by Mel Ramos
The American Mel Ramos is one of the most famous representatives of Pop Art. Ramos developed his distinctive style by combining depictions of commercial pin-ups with images of the product world. Fascinated by modern consumer society, the artist found his characters in the imagery of comic books and magazine advertisements, which he usually draped on merchandise items to parody the marketing strategies of the advertising industry.
Beginning in the mid-1950s, the Pop artist also devoted himself to printmaking, especially lithography and screen printing. Together with printers, Ramos developed his own printing methods or combinations, which he supplemented with hand paintings and photographic reproductions.
Lithographs by Mel Ramos
Currently you will find an extensive and varied selection of Mel Ramos lithographs in our program. Characteristic for Ramos are mostly unclothed pin-up models posing in front of brightly colored monochrome backgrounds with oversized sweets, as in the lithographs Reese's Rose, Miss Kiss, Sweet Odalisque, Mint Pattie, Jujyfruits Judy, Caramia Caramello or also Doublemint Twins. In the prints Hav-a-Havana #5 (Davidoff 2), Hav-a-Havana #7 or Hav-a-Havana #11, the models place themselves in lascivious poses on or next to oversized cigars. The women also present the products of the everyday food world, as in the works Starkist or Hunt for the Best, whose name Ramos took from an advertising campaign of an American ketchup manufacturer.
In addition to these advertising products, animals are also among the playmates of his undressed pin-ups. For example, in the lithograph Giant Panda, a blonde woman lies in the arms of an oversized panda. The model also poses with an elephant seal in the print Elephant Seal. The Mel Ramos prints refer to the series of ,,Animal Paintings" (1964-71) in which the painter has his ladies interact with animals in a provocative way. But perhaps it is also a reference to the art historical depictions of the ancient myth of "Leda and the Swan"? For quotations from art history can often be found in Ramos' paintings. This is also the case in the Mel Ramos lithograph Nude descending a staircase, in which a blonde naked woman is seen descending a staircase. As the title of this print already reveals, Mel Ramos quotes here the French-American painter and object artist Marcel Duchamp and his world-famous painting ,,Nude, descending a staircase No. 2" from 1912. The French masters such as Ingres or Edouard Manet also inspired the US-American artist. The colored lithograph Drawing Lesson depicts a model sitting on a chair behind a white canvas that dimly reveals the drawing of a female nude, reminiscent of Eduard Manet's depictions. Moreover, in the lithograph Ramos not only thematizes the creative process of drawing the nude itself, but also encourages reflection on the traditions of painting. Moreover, the viewer of this print may also have noticed the resemblance of the depicted woman to the American actress Michelle Pfeiffer. And also in the handsigned and numbered Mel Ramos lithograph Peek-a-boo 4, the artist has given the pin-up girl the facial features of the famous actress Scarlett Johannson. Here the viewer sees the nude model through a keyhole and is thereby exposed in his role as a secret voyeur. In the Mel Ramos lithograph Bonnards Bath, it was his own wife Leta who was the model for his art. The print Thrill #1 from 1979 stands out from the previously mentioned Mel Ramos lithographs. In it, Ramos creates an almost morbid combination of realistic and gestural-expressive forms of representation. The head of a young long-haired woman can be seen, which seems to have been taken from a magazine, mounted on a body consisting of brushstrokes.
Mel Ramos was always fascinated by modern consumer society and, like other Pop artists of his time, found inspiration in the mass media and American consumer culture. In his very own visual language and iconography, he processed the clichés of the images of advertising and show business in an ironic-critical distance.
Mel Ramos was born on July 24, 1935 in Sacramento, California, the son of Portuguese immigrants. In 1954 he began studying art and art history at Sacramento Junior College. He was artistically influenced by the painter Wayne Thiebaud when he transferred to Sacramento State College, where he was introduced to the then emerging art style of American Pop Art. In 1958, Ramos successfully graduated with a Master of Arts degree.
He then pursued various teaching activities. Among other things, Ramos taught art at Elk Grove High School and Mira Loma High School from 1958 to 1966. During this time, the painter developed into one of the best-known representatives of American Pop Art. Thus, he found his distinctive style in the early 1960s. Since the early 1960s, inspired by other Pop artists, such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, he began to incorporate characters from comic books into his work. The depiction of female superheroes in particular was to have a lasting influence on his work. Thus, in 1963, he arrived at his iconic pin-ups via comic book characters, which henceforth became a central theme of his compositions. In the same year, his works were exhibited together with other Pop Art artists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Here he combined the female nudes with items from the television and billboard advertising of the time, gaining international fame. The model for his early pin-ups was often his wife Leta Ramos, to whom he had been married since 1955. In 1964, he finally had his first solo exhibition at the Bianchini Gallery in New York.
He remained faithful to his pin-up representations for a long time, but repeatedly changed their representational context. For example, starting in 1972, he replaced the female nudes of well-known artists with his pin-ups. In the 1980s, landscapes and self-portraits increasingly dominated the painter's oeuvre.
From 1966 to 1997, Mel Ramos taught painting at various universities in the U.S. and held a professorship at California State University, among others. His work has been shown in numerous American, as well as European exhibitions in recent decades. On October 14, 2018, Mel Ramos passed away from heart failure in Oakland.
- 26.06.2023 – 24.07.2023 American Pop Art – Queens Kunstgalerien GmbH, Emmendingen.
- 03.06.2023 – 20.08.2023 40 Years Of The Lingen Art Association 1983 To 2023 – Kunsthalle Lingen.
- 01.03.2022 – 29.05.2022 ARTIST - COLLECTOR – PUBLIC - City Art Museum & City Art Gallery Ljubljana.
- 13.11.2021 – 01.05.2022 Als die Grafik boomte – Pop-Art auf Papier – Kunsthalle zu Kiel.
- 15.09.2021 – 20.12.2021 Art as self-realization and self-expression – The MAMAG Modern Art Museum, Blinendmarkt.
- 15.07.2021 – 19.01.2022 Mensch, der / Körper, der, die , das – Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg.
- 18.10.19 – 17.11.19 POSTCARD RELOADED - Kunstraum Potsdam c/o Waschhaus, Potsdam.
- 09.02.2019 – 22.04.2019 Men of Steel, Women of Wonder – Crystel Bridgers Museum of American Art, Bentonville.
- 07.03.2019 – 06.04.2019 Mel Ramos. Memorial Exhibition – Modernism, San Francisco.
- 04.03.2018 – 31.03.2018 Mel Ramos: New Works and Recent Prints – Archival Gallery, Sacramento.
- 27.09.2016 – 14.10.2016 Superhero – National Academy of Arts Ukraine, Kiev.
- 22.03.2015 – 17.05.2015 Mel Ramos. My Age of Pop – Ludwig Museum, Koblenz.
- 13.10.2013 – 12.01.2014 Die Schöne und das Biest – Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig.
- 28.08.2013 – 12.10.2013 Mel Ramos. Arbeiten auf Papier und Editionen – Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna.
- 02.06.2012 – 21.10.2012 Mel Ramos: 50 Years of Superheroes, Nudes, and Other Pop Delights - Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento.
- 18.02.2011 - 29.05.2011 Mel Ramos. Girls, Candys & Comics – Albertina, Vienna.
- 25.06.2010 – 03.10.2010 Mel Ramos. 50 Jahre Pop Art – Villa Stuck, Munich.
- 1986: National Endowment for the Arts – Visual Artist Fellowship Grant, Washington D.C.
- Mel Ramos: Catalogue Raisonné der Bilder 1953-2015, Thomas Levy and Belinda Grace Gardner, Berlin 2016.
- Mel Ramos: Exceptional Editions, Ernst Hilger and Anke Wiedmann, Nuremberg 2015.
- Mel Ramos. Superman im Supermarkt, Konstantin Jacoby, Berlin 2015.
- Mel Ramos: 50 Years of Superheroes, Nudes, and Other Pop Delights, Scott A Shields, Johnathon Keats and Diana L. Daniels, San Francisco 2012.
- Mel Ramos. 50 Jahre Pop-Art, Otto Letzke (Publ.), Ostfildern 2010.
- Mel Ramos, I love woman, Thomas Levy (Publ.), Bielefeld 2007.
- Mel Ramos - Werkverzeichniss der Druckgrafik, Heiner Schepers, Vienna 2002.
- Mel Ramos : heroines, goddesses, beauty queens, Thomas Levy (Hrsg.), Bielefeld 2002.
- Stuttgart - Staatsgalerie
- Hamburg - Hamburger Kunsthalle
- Darmstadt - Kunsthalle
- Aachen - Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst
- Edinburgh - Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
- Toronto - Art Gallery of Ontario
- New York - Whitney Museum of American Art
- New York – Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
- San Francisco - Museum of Modern Art
- Los Angeles - Museum of Contemporary Art
- Washington D.C. - Corcoran Gallery of Art
- Chicago - Museum of Contemporary Art
- Seattle - Seattle Art Museum
- Sacramento - Crocker Art Museum
- Official Website of Mel Ramos Overview of biography, artworks and exhibitions.