Along with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg was one of the most important representatives of Pop Art. His huge sculptures can be found all over the world – including in Germany. Now Oldenburg has died at the age of 93.

Pop artist Claes Oldenburg is dead. Oldenburg died in New York on Monday at the age of 93, a spokeswoman for the Pace gallery, which has represented the artist since 1960, told the DPA news agency. The artist recently recovered from a fall in his studio in SoHo, where he also lived. “I was honored to have a great friendship with one of the most radical artists of the 20th century,” gallery founder Arne Glimcher was quoted as saying. “He changed the nature of sculpture from hard to soft and his impact on the art world is still visible today.”

Oldenburg at eye level with Andy Warhol

Oldenburg elevated the Pop Art of the 1960s, which primarily took place in prints and paintings, to sculpture and humorously placed consumer objects in a new context. Along with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, he was one of the greatest representatives of the movement.

Claes Thure Oldenburg was born in Stockholm in 1929, a few years later the family moved to the USA. He studied at Yale and tried his hand as a reporter at the City News Bureau in Chicago, but then attended the Art Institute of Chicago and illustrated for magazines. After moving to New York in 1953, with American citizenship in his pocket, he experimented with papier-mâché and plaster of Paris in his first shows.

The art world received him enthusiastically – also in Germany. In Kassel, the multiple Documenta artist hewed a twelve meter high pickaxe into the Fulda riverbank. In Frankfurt it was almost as high a tie. In Münster billiard balls, in Cologne an ice cream cone and in Freiburg a water tap with a hose.