Burroughs Adder, Claes Oldenburg
Claes Oldenburg
Burroughs Adder
Back to top

Claes Oldenburg

Burroughs Adder, 1965

355 x 427 mm
Physical Description
Black chalk and watercolour on wove paper
Inventory Number
Object Number
17907 Z
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection
Can be presented in the study room of the Graphische Sammlung (special opening hours)


About the Work

In 1962, Oldenburg began defamiliarizing everyday objects by negating the solidity of their material: he made typewriters, drum sets, and pieces of cake ultra large and as soft as cushions. In 1964/65 he conceived of something similar for a Burroughs adding machine. Using chalk and watercolours, he portrayed the device close up, thus lending it a monumental quality, and in loose, rather soft forms that wryly disclaim the object’s hardness.

About the Acquisition

The Städel Museum has the photographer, psychotherapist, philanthropist, and long-time Frankfurt resident Ulrike Crespo (1950–2019) to thank for more than ninety works ranging from classical modernism to American pop art. The paintings, drawings, and prints by Wassily Kandinsky, Otto Dix, Oskar Schlemmer, Max Ernst, Jean Dubuffet, Cy Twombly, and others originally belonged to the holdings of her grandfather, the Darmstadt-based industrialist Karl Ströher (1890–1977), who amassed an extensive art collection after World War II.

Work Data

Basic Information

Burroughs Adder (Original Title)
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Black chalk and watercolour on wove paper
Geographic Reference
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Monogrammiert und datiert unten links (mit schwarzer Kreide?): C O 65; betitelt unten rechts: Burroughs / Adder
  • Nicht vorhanden

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
© Claes Oldenburg
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection

Work Content

Motifs and References


  • 49D531 calculating-instruments

Research and Discussion


Object History
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
Leon Kraushar (1913‒1967), Long Island
Nachlass Kraushar, 1967
Verkauf über Franz Dahlem an Karl Ströher (1890‒1977), Darmstadt, 1968
Nachlass Karl Ströher, 1977
an seine Enkelin Ulrike Crespo (1950-2019), Frankfurt am Main
Vermächtnis an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 2019.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the museum at .

More to discover



Do you have any suggestions, questions or information about this work?

Last update