Chrysler Museum Acquires Original “Mad Men” Painting by Neglected Pop Artist Idelle Weber

“Munchkins, I, II, & III,” 1964

A monumental work by long overlooked pop artist Idelle Weber has been acquired by the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia. The 17-foot-long painting, titled “Munchkins, I, II, & III” (above), is Weber’s best-known work and also the inspiration for the title sequence of AMC’s “Mad Men.” In addition to “Munchkins, I, II, & III,” the museum has also acquired “High Ceiling—You Won’t Get This” and “Mr. Chrysler” — two works that allude to Walter Chrysler, Jr., the art patron whose collection forms the main portion of the Chrysler Museum.

Although Weber has long been overshadowed by her male contemporaries, a critical reevaluation of her work is at hand and “Munchkins I, II, & III” will be included in the pop art edition of Prestel Publishing’s “50 Works of Art You Should Know” this fall. The works will also go on display in April next year when the museum finishes renovations on its expanded modern and contemporary galleries.

“The Chrysler Museum’s Pop art holdings include many works that represent pivotal moments in the movement’s history, from Roy Lichtenstein to James Rosenquist,”” said Amy Brandt, the Chrysler’s McKinnon Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art in a press release. “As the magnum opus of one of Pop art’s leading female practitioners, “Munchkins I, II, & III” is an ideal complement to these distinctive works. Similarly, Weber’s references to the Chrysler business dynasty in “High Ceiling” and “Mr. Chrysler”—both important works in their own right—make them especially appropriate additions to a collection that is itself part of the Chrysler legacy.”

“Mr. Chrysler,” 1970

“High Ceiling—You Won’t Get This,” 1964

— Ashton Cooper

(Photos: Courtesy the Chrysler Museum)