Claes Oldenburg (born January 28, 1929) is an American sculptor, best known for his public art installations typically featuring very large replicas of everyday objects. Whimsical sculpture of pop culture items, many of them large and out-of-doors, is the signature work of this Swedish artist. Many of his works were made in collaboration with his wife, Coosje van Bruggen, who died in 2009 after 32 years of marriage.
Oldenburg's father was a diplomat and moved his family during Claes' childhood to New York State; Oslo, Norway; and Chicago Illinois, but Claes did not become an American citizen until 1950. He began his formal art training at Yale University, graduating in 1951 and then enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1952 to 1954. In 1953, some of his satirical drawings were included in his first group show at the Club St. Elmo, Chicago, and he also painted at the Oxbow School of Painting in Michigan. In 1960, he created his first Pop-Art environments and Happenings in a mock store full of plaster objects. Beginning 1965, he did colossal sized public sculpture such as pairs of scissors, ironing boards, and a typewriter eraser. "Lipstick" was the first to be executed and was placed outdoors on the Yale campus in 1969.