“Sighs on the Midway”
Unique mixed media collage (photomontage and mixed objects on wood)
27 x 29 x 7 inches
1965
$40,000
“Study for Baseball Machine”
Unique mixed media collage with magazine fragments
16 x 12 inches (unframed dimensions)
1963
$2,500
“I Go Global”
Mixed media assemblage with tin can fragments on wood
12 x 18.5 x 15 inches
2003
$5,000
“Study for Football Machine”
Unique mixed media collage with magazine fragments
16 x 12 inches (unframed dimensions)
1963
$2,500
“Split the Dollar”
Unique mixed media collage with magazine fragments
16 x 12 inches (unframed dimensions)
1963
$2,500
“The Rose”
Unique mixed media collage with magazine fragment and pen & ink on onion paper
12 x 9 inches (unframed dimensions)
1965
$2,500
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Bio Synopsis

Leo Jensen is the only American artist who actually grew up in the circus. He became a pioneer in Pop Art in the early 1960s and was the first to create kinetic Pop sculpture.  In order to fully appreciate how Leo Jensen developed his singular approach to Pop Art one must understand his life as a young circus performer as well as how at the same time he received his artistic training in this fantasy environment. The result is a fascinating and truly unique chapter in the history of American Art.

Jensen began exhibiting his pop sculpture in New York in 1952, a decade before the movement took off.  His breakout solo exhibition came in 1964. John Canaday, the leading art critic for New York Times known for his conservatism and barbed wit, wrote that “For pure entertainment in the moment’s most avant-garde manner, the Amel Gallery on Madison Avenue has turned up with an engaging installation of pop inventions by Leo Jensen.” In 1965, during the second successful solo, Jensen’s friend Tom Wesselman took numerous photographs, remarking how he admired Jensen’s works.  For five years Wesselman had been developing his Great American Nude series, which in 1960 had first brought him notoriety. Among the Jensen hanging assemblages he admired was Sighs on the Midway. This wall piece features a large photo-collage of a blonde, her head tilted back, exuding an explicitly sensual sigh. In 1967 Wesselman began a new series called Bedroom Paintings — and returned to Jensen’s blonde from Sighs on the Midway. For example, in Bedroom Painting #46, painted in 1977–1981, Wesselman has simply reversed the image of Jensen’s blonde but her head is tilted back at the same angle, emitting the same sigh that would reappear in this series.  A playfully surprised Jensen teased Wesselman about the appropriation.

Artist’s Statement

“I grew up in the circus and the rodeo during the Great Depression. You have to understand that this was a totally different world with totally different people…My roots are deep in the art of the circus wagon, the Midway banner, and the carousel.”

– Peter Hastings Falk

Read the full backstory about Jensen here.