Robert Arneson, ‘Robert Arneson Self Portrait Bust, Bob as Chef’, 1991, Jeffrey Spahn Gallery

This is an iconic piece by Robert "Bob" Arneson. Commonly referred to as Bob as Chef, this is a self portrait bust of the artist as a chef with his tongue wagging out. Classic ceramic Funk piece from California. Entitled, Souvenir #5, (Smorgi Bob Trophy") this piece relates directly to the larger installation sculpture Arneson did entitled smorgi-Bob, The Cook.

Private collection

About Robert Arneson

Known for his colorful ceramic sculptures, Robert Arneson is considered the founder of the Funk Art movement, a strand of Californian Pop Art. Departing from the original influence of Picasso’s early ceramics on his work, Arneson significantly advanced the status of clay as an artistic form, appropriating functional items like pots, bricks, telephones, and toilets, and turning them into objects of absurdist humor. His visual puns—a phallic teapot, a toaster with a hand inside it—became surreal, sometimes controversial, statements. Arneson also produced highly colored drawings and sculpted self-portraits; his busts playfully mocked the figure of the artist in the world. His style has been compared to that of writers like Thomas Pynchon or Kurt Vonnegut, presenting a cartoonish or caricatured version of life.

American, 1930-1992, Benicia, California