The “House ball” is an 11 meter high sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen installed in the city of Berlin (Germany) in 1997. The drawing “House Ball with Fallen Toy Bear” was originally a study for the Berlin sculpture. It evokes a vision of the earliest and perhaps most pristine of all footballs: a bundle of rags tied together with a string.
Claes Oldenburg (1929-2009) is one of the big names of American pop art. Claes Oldenburg is best known for transforming everyday objects into accessible, monumental-scale public works that gently challenge conventions by giving the familiar objects alternate meanings. In the 1960s, Oldenburg came to prominence for his "Happenings," or free-form experimental art performances, and for his soft sculptures, such as Floor Cake, Floor Burger, and Floor Cone. In the 1970s, Oldenburg began collaborating on public projects with his wife Coosje van Bruggen. Their subjects range from clothes pins to apple cores and tubes of lipstick, bringing mass-produced domestic products into the openness of the public sphere. Coosje van Bruggen died in 2009 after 32 years of marriage. Oldenburg continues to combine monumentality with banality, employing the trademark humor that helped establish him as one of Pop art's most influential and innovative artists. Oldenburg lives and works in New York.