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Mel Ramos

Sacramento/Kalifornien 1935


The American artist Mel Ramos (actually Melvin John Ramos) was born in Sacramento, California on July 24, 1935. In 1954 he begins to study art and art history at the Junior College. A year later he changes to the Sacramento State College where his teacher Wayne Thiebaud has decisive influence on him. Just as his teacher, Mel Ramos picks up the style of Pop-Art, in his paintings he depicts super heroes from comic strips. In the 1960s he more and more uses Pin-up-Girls as the motif of his works, which makes him famous. His art is critical and an ironic reaction to the cliches conveyed by advertising in the media. The nudes and objects on which the Pin-ups are draped appear in cool neon light, as it is typical for this type of Pop-Art.
His first one-man show takes place at the Bianchini Gallery in New York in 1964. In 1967 he has an important exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Numerous exhibitions in the USA and Europe follow. Mel Ramos soon counts among the most important representatives of Pop-Art, along with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
In 1966 Mel Ramos is appointed professor at the California State University in Hayward, a post he holds until 1997. As of 1972 Mel Ramos works on a series of paintings in which he inserts his Pin-up-Girls into famous nude paintings by artist colleagues such as Willem de Kooning or Amedeo Modigliani. As of around 1980 he increasingly turns to landscape paintings, additionally he makes a number of self portraits.
Since 1992 Mel Ramos has been living and working alternately in Oakland, California and in Horta de San Juan in Spain.


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