Claes Oldenburg

Many of Oldenburg’s motifs come from childhood interests. The typewriter eraser is one such example, recalling a period when he played at being a journalist in his father’s home office. The subject is also in keeping with his general attraction to ordinary household items and consumer products. Oldenburg first introduced the typewriter eraser into his work in 1970, and it continued to inspire drawings, prints, and sculptures for nearly three decades. In this sheet, the artist animated—and even anthropomorphized—his humble subject with lively, seemingly spontaneous marks.

Claes Oldenburg
American, b. 1929
Typewriter Eraser, 1977
Crayon and watercolor
Gray Family Collection
Gray Collection Trust, Art Institute of Chicago
© Claes Oldenburg
Photography by Jamie Stukenberg, Professional Graphics Inc.