From Peter Blake’s signature collages to Evelyne Axell’s depictions of the female body, Musement takes a look at eight of the most prominent Pop artists.
No matter how it makes you feel, there’s no denying that Pop Art is enthralling. It’s impossible not to be drawn to the colorful, creative works—perhaps it’s something to do with how we can recognize and perhaps even find a quality to relate to via the means the artists implemented to express themselves. The movement started in the 1950s when artists decided to deviate from tradition and create art they deemed al little more fun, and the rest is history. Here’s a look at eight prominent Pop artists who have left an indelible mark on the movement.
1. Andy Warhol, 1928 – 1987
There’s arguably no artist as synonymous with Pop Art as Andy Warhol. A commercial illustrator, Warhol sought inspiration from celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe, and advertisements, like the Campbell’s Soup cans, to create works that are emblematic not just of Pop Art but of the 20th century. His New York studio, the Factory, was frequented by artists, intellectuals and various other notable contemporaries.
2. Roy Lichtenstein 1923 – 1997
Once you’ve seen a Roy Lichenstein work, his aesthetic is easy to identify. This American pop artist was known for parody, crafting works inspired by comic strips and cartoons. His most famous include Drowning Girl (1963) at MoMA and Whaam!(1963) at the Tate Modern in London.
3. Keith Haring (1958 – 1990)
A staple on New York’s 1980s art scene, Keith Haring was an artist and social activist whose graffiti-inspired work first appeared in New York City streets and subways. In fact, he’s one of the first artists to bridge the gap between street art and museums. His most famous works include Crack is Whack (1986), a mural on the corner of Second Avene and 128th Street, and Tuttomundo (1989), a world peace-themed mural on the wall of Sant’Antonio church in Pisa. Other works can be found in various museums and galleries around the world.
4. Pauline Boty (1938 – 1966)
The only woman painter in the British Pop Art movement (which she happened to help establish), Pauline Boty’s “rebellious art” flouted the constraints of the patriarchal art world. Her work exuded feminism and sexuality, and she often turned the tables and depicted men as sex symbols. She sadly passed away at just 28 years old from cancer. Her portrait of Marilyn Monroe, The Only Blonde in the World, (1963) is at the Tate St. Ives.
5. George Condo (1957 – present)
The work of this American artist, who honed his talent in Warhol’s Factory, is extremely particular, fusing Pop Art with an almost cartoon-like edge that’s often undercut with a trace of Surrealism. Some of his works even recall those of Picasso. See his Mental States (2000) at the Tate Modern and Diaries of Milan, 1984 at MoMA.
6. Evelyne Axell (1935 – 1972)
This Belgian Pop artist is best known for her racy interpretations of females, either in nude or silhouette form, embracing female sexuality. She also went through a “nature and environment” phase that focused on landscapes and the wonders of the great outdoors, and most of her works contain a psychedelic element. Her most emblematic paintings include Ice Cream (1964) at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Valentine (1966) at the Tate Modern and Le Glacier1972 at Mumok in Vienna. Facebook tried to censor the former when the Philadelphia Museum of Art used the image in an ad prompting thee “International Pop” exhibition.
7. Sir Peter Blake (1932 – present)
Nicknamed, “the godfather of British Pop Art,” Peter Blake is perhaps widely known for the artwork of the Beatles’ iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album as well as albums for other artists like Eric Clapton and the Who. While that’s undoubtedly impressive, his imprint on Pop Art goes much deeper, one of his most popular outlets being neat collages created from pop culture images coupled with vibrant colors and shapes. Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 2002. His Self Portrait with Badges (1961) is at Tate Britain and Studio Track-Board(1972) is at the Tate Modern alongside many of his other works.
8. David Hockney (1937 – present)
One of the world’s most influential artists, David Hockney has left a profound imprint on art and is most closely associated with the Pop Art movement. His works can be recognized by, usually, the presence of a swimming pool, but he also loved painting people and the occasional landscape. The artist’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972) auctioned for $90 million (£70 million), making it the most expensive painting by a living artist ever sold at auction. See A Bigger Splash (1967) and My Parents (1977) at the Tate Modern.