William Nelson Copley

American, 1919–1996

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William Nelson Copley

American, 1919–1996

567
Followers
Biography

Forging an unprecedented and unlikely link between the European Surrealist and American Pop Art movements, William N. Copley painted sweetly humorous, softly pornographic vignettes. His works are Surrealist in their unbridled expressions of sexual desire—he painted couples making love, men and women fantasizing about each other, figures in various states of undress and stages of foreplay. Through his use of bright colors, cartoonish figures, and wildly patterned backgrounds, Copley tempered his sometimes-X-rated imagery with a visual language similar to that of Pop Art. While his imagery is mined from a variety of sources, including racy magazines he would buy from the seedy shops that used to dominate New York’s Times Square, Copley’s work is whimsical, joyful, and lyrical. As he claims: “Humor, after all, is the reminder that we are mortal.” As his paintings suggest, so, apparently, is sex.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Institution
Collected by a major institution
ICA Miami
Biography

Forging an unprecedented and unlikely link between the European Surrealist and American Pop Art movements, William N. Copley painted sweetly humorous, softly pornographic vignettes. His works are Surrealist in their unbridled expressions of sexual desire—he painted couples making love, men and women fantasizing about each other, figures in various states of undress and stages of foreplay. Through his use of bright colors, cartoonish figures, and wildly patterned backgrounds, Copley tempered his sometimes-X-rated imagery with a visual language similar to that of Pop Art. While his imagery is mined from a variety of sources, including racy magazines he would buy from the seedy shops that used to dominate New York’s Times Square, Copley’s work is whimsical, joyful, and lyrical. As he claims: “Humor, after all, is the reminder that we are mortal.” As his paintings suggest, so, apparently, is sex.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Institution
Collected by a major institution
ICA Miami
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