Mel Ramos is an American figurative painter, specializing most often in paintings of female nudes, whose work incorporates elements of realist and abstract art. Born in Sacramento, California, to a first generation Portuguese-Azorean immigrant family, he studied art at the Sacramento Junior College from 1954 and transferred to the Sacramento State College one year later. There Mel Ramos was taught by Wayne Thiebaud, who greatly influenced the young Ramos. During this time Mel Ramos was close to the so-called Bay Area Figurative School, a movement that distanced itself from the omnipresent abstract expressionism of the 1950s. Under Thiebaud's influence Mel Ramos began working with Pop Art style; comic figures like Batman and Superman appeared in his works from 1961. Ramos is best known for his paintings of superheroes and voluptuous female nudes emerging from cornstalks or Chiquita bananas, popping up from candy wrappers or lounging in martini glasses. The Pin-up girls "advertise" different commodities and goods with provoking gazes, confident poses and exuberant sex appeal. These works are a tongue-in-cheek parody of the seemingly eternally valid strategy of the advertisement industry. These images would be the trademark of the Californian artist for decades. Along with Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, he was one of the first artists to do paintings of images from comic books, and works of the three were exhibited together at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1963. As of around 1980 he increasingly turns to landscape paintings, additionally he makes a number of self portraits.
Mel Ramos, Senorita Rio, 1964 1 Cent Life Portfolio, 1963, Unsigned, Lithograph, Edition 2000, 26" x 26 1/4" Framed Size, 15 1/2" x 16 1/4" Image Size