Catalogue entry

Claes Oldenburg b.1929

P07096 SYSTEM OF ICONOGRAPHY —PLUG, MOUSE, GOOD HUMOR, LIPSTICK, SWITCHES 1970–71

Inscribed ‘52/250’ b.l. and ‘Oldenburg’ b.r. There are also inscriptions in the print identifying the various objects, viz. ‘three way plug’, ‘geometric mouse’, ‘lipstick’, ‘good humor’ and ‘switches’. A printed inscription on the verso reads ‘System of Iconography Plug, Mouse, Good Humor, Lipstick, Switches, 1970 by Claes Oldenburg. © Claes Oldenburg 1971. Printed in Switzerland. Edition of 250’.
Lithograph, 20 x 15¿ (50.8 x 39) on paper, 28 x 23¿ (71.2 x 59.3).
Purchased from the Margo Leavin Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1972.
Lit: Studio International, CLXXIX, 1970, p.242, original drawing repr. on cover in colour; Oldenburg: Works in Edition (Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles 1971), No.23, repr.

The original drawing for this print was made in London, in Queen’s Gate, specially for the cover of the June 1970 issue of Studio International, and was in pencil and crayon, 22 x15 in. Its full title was given at the time as ‘Objects as Icons -System of Iconography II: Three-Way Plug, Geometric Mouse, Good Humor Bar, Light Switches and Lipstick on Caterpillar Tracks’. Oldenburg supplied the following note for this issue: ‘The drawing is self-explanatory: these objects have attained a status of demi-gods in my work, producing off-spring in the disguise of other objects. The family relation of my subjects becomes evident. Drawings in this manner attempt to establish a lineage, binding my choices together into a “house”.’

An edition of 250 impressions in 4-colour offset lithography was printed from this drawing in 1971 in Switzerland by the Imprimeries Réunies Lausanne, and published by the Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles. The original drawing is still in the artist’s possession.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1972–1974, London 1975.