Pop Art appreciates popular culture as opposed to elitist culture. It is characterized by bright colours and use of recognizable imagery from popular culture like advertisements, celebrities, and comic book characters. Let’s look at 10 of the greatest and most famous works of the Pop Art movement.

 

#10 Still Life

Artist: Tom Wesselmann

Year: 1962

Still Life by Tom Wesselmann
One of the Still Life paintings by Tom Wesselmann

Among the most popular works in pop art is the Still Life series by Wesselmann.  This work (Still Life #30) is a combination of painting, sculpture and collage of commercial labels Tom found on the street.

 

#9 On the Balcony

Artist: Peter Blake

Year: 1955 – 1957

On the Balcony by Peter Blake
On the Balcony by Peter Blake

An iconic piece of British pop art, ‘On the Balcony’ combines images of pop culture with fine art. The work appears to be a collage but is wholly painted. Among other things, it shows a boy holding Edouard Manet’s The Balcony; badges; and magazines.

 

#8 I was a Rich Man’s Plaything

Artist: Eduardo Paolozzi

Year: 1947

I was a Rich Man's Plaything by Eduardo Paolozzi
I was a Rich Man’s Plaything by Eduardo Paolozzi

This collage is considered the initial standard bearer of “pop art” and first to display the word “pop”. The biggest collage element takes up the top two thirds of the work. It is the cover of a magazine called ‘Intimate Confessions’

 

#7 Flag

Artist: Jasper Johns

Year: 1954 – 1955

Flag by Jasper Johns
Flag by Jasper Johns

John’s selection of the US flag as his subject allowed him to explore a familiar two-dimensional object, with its simple internal geometric structure and a complex symbolic meaning. The painting remains John’s best known work.

 

#6 Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?

Artist: Richard Hamilton

Year: 1956

Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing by Richard Hamilton
Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing by Richard Hamilton

This collage consisting of images taken from American magazines was the first work of pop art to reach iconic status.

 

#5 Drowning Girl

Artist: Roy Lichtenstein

Year: 1963

Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein
Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein

Considered a cornerstone of Lichtenstein’s work, Drowning Girl is sometimes also referred to as ‘I Don’t Care! I’d Rather Sink’. The printing method and the use of speech balloon to convey thoughts give the painting an appearance of a comic book page. The heroine appears a victim of an unhappy love affair who would rather drown than ask for her lover’s help.

 

#4 A Bigger Splash

Artist: David Hockney

Year: 1967

A Bigger Splash by David Hockney
A Bigger Splash by David Hockney

This famous painting by Hockney depicts a splash in a swimming pool besides a modern house. ‘A Bigger Splash’ was created with meticulous care, simplifying but enlarging his earlier paintings entitled “A Little Splash” (1966) and “The Splash” (1966).

 

#3 Campbell’s Soup Cans

Artist: Andy Warhol

Year: 1962

Campbell's Soup Cans by Andy Warhol
Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andy Warhol

Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans is the work of art that led to pop art becoming a major art movement in the USA. The non-painterly style and the commercial subject of the painting initially caused offence as it affronted the technique and philosophy of abstract expressionism, the then dominant style in the United States. The resulting debates on the merits and ethics of such work made Andy Warhol the leading and most well-known pop artist.

 

#2 Whaam!

Artist: Roy Lichtenstein

Year: 1963

Whaam! by Roy Lichtenstein
Whaam! by Roy Lichtenstein

‘Whaam!’ “documents while it gently parodies the familiar hero images of modern America.” The painting is noted for combing brilliant colour and narrative situation. It is regarded as one of the finest and most notable works by Lichtenstein.

 

#1 Marilyn Diptych

Artist: Andy Warhol

Year: 1962

Marilyn Diptych by Andy Warhol
Marilyn Diptych by Andy Warhol
Marilyn Diptych
One of the Images of Marilyn

Marilyn Monroe died in August 1962. In the following weeks, Warhol made this masterpiece which contains fifty images of Marilyn, all based on the same publicity photograph from the 1953 film Niagara. Considered an iconic symbol of pop art, Marilyn Diptych was named the third most influential piece of modern art in a survey by The Guardian.

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