Tom Wesselmann was born February 23, 1931 in Cincinnati, Ohio. From 1949 to 1951 he studied at the Hiram College in Ohio, before studying psychology at the University of Cincinnati. In 1953, Wesslemann's studies were interrupted by a two-year enlistment in the army. Upon his return, Wesselmann received his bachelor's degree in psychology and moved to New York in 1956, where he studied at the Cooper Union School for Arts and Architecture. It was here that Wesselmann redirected his focus towards fine art. While in New York, Wesselmann worked as a cartoonist for several magazines and newspapers, as well as teaching high school in Brooklyn.
During the 1950's, Wesselmann created small collages that would be precursors to his later series Great American Nudes and Still Life. Using collages and assemblages, Wesselmann incorporated everyday objects and advertising into his works. By the 1960's, Wesselmann had become one of the leading Pop artists, favoring classical representation of still life, nudes, and landscape.