Claes Oldenburg (1929 – Present) was born in Stockholm in 1929, moving to Chicago in 1936 where he spent the rest of his childhood. Oldenburg studied literature and art history at Yale University in Connecticut from 1946-1950, after which he returned to Chicago and took classes at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He opened his own studio in 1953, alongside working as a reporter at the City New Bureau of Chicago whilst he developed his artistic craft. In 1956, he moved to New York and worked at the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration.
Oldenburg’s first solo exhibition took place in 1959 at the Judson Gallery in New York. He exhibited solo again at the Moderna Museet in 1966, the Museum of Modern Art in 1969, London’s Tate Gallery in 1970 and with a retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1995, which later travelled to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Kunstund Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, and the Hayward Gallery, London. In 2002 the Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of Oldenburg’s and contemporary Van Bruggen’s drawings, which was the same year that the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited a selection of their sculptures on the roof of the museum. In Milan’s Piazzale Cadorna there is a permanent exhibition of the Needle, Thread and Know work. Oldenburg won the Wolf Prize in Arts in 1989 and the National Medal of Arts in 2000.