Swingin' Red King, 1961, Pine, pine moulding, plywood, enamel 83 3/4 x 29 1/4 x 25 inches, 212.7 x 74.3 x 63.5 cm
Image courtesy Venus
“H.C. Westermann: See America First”
Westermann was surely one of the most eccentric American artists of the postwar era. A Marine who fought in the Pacific during World War II, he attended the Art Institute in Chicago before returning to active duty during the Korean War. Much of this combat experience found its way into Westermann's work, which combines elements of folk art, Pop Art, Surrealism and Dadaism.
He created sculptural objects and drawings that channel a nostalgic longing for a earlier, more rural America while exhibiting a somewhat perverse sensibility. He exerted a huge influence on Chicago imagists of the 1960s like Jim Nutt, though he didn't belonging to any group, preferring instead to remain an outsider who followed his own idiosyncratic vision.