Live Now on Artnet Auctions: Four Iconic Pop Art Prints That Defined the Movement
Pop art first emerged in the 1950s alongside the post-war rise of popular culture, consumerism, and mass media.
Premier Prints & Multiples, live now on Artnet Auctions, features a curated selection of works spanning a diverse range of movements and styles.
The past and present are linked in this sale through several exceptional pieces of Pop art, the movement that defined the 20th century. First emerging in the 1950s alongside the post-war rise of popular culture, consumerism, and mass media, Pop art draws inspiration from many different sources, and its popularity remains to this day, enticing our imagination and forcing us all to think critically about the world around us.
Read on to learn about four Pop prints, available now through April 7.
Nude With Yellow Pillow (from the Nude series) (1994)
The appearance and comportment of this glamorous nude is reminiscent of the sirens and heroines of popular pulp novels and comics. Thick lines and bold, repeating Ben-Day dots make Nude with Yellow Pillow instantly recognizable as a work by American artist Roy Lichtenstein. While Lichtenstein employs a thoroughly modern style in his Nude series, the subject is quintessentially traditional. The female nude has captured the eyes and imaginations of artists for centuries, from the marble bathing Venuses of Antiquity to the reclining odalisques of masters like Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Henri Matisse.
Art Attack on AIDS (1988)
Keith Haring’s work emerged in the 1980s as the perfect, if irreverent, union between Pop and Street art. Regardless of medium, whether graffiti in the subway stations of New York or a screenprint, Haring’s human and anthropomorphic critters are instantly recognizable and understandable, acting as modern-day hieroglyphs to easily convey messages to a wide range of viewers. Following the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic, Haring sought to raise awareness through the creation of promotional posters. In a rare screenprint on Veneer plywood, Art Attack on AIDS, Haring’s figures duel, comically throwing jabs at one another. But, while Haring’s figures appear impish, his messaging about the challenging fight against AIDS is decidedly serious and clear.
Cupcakes and Donuts (2006)
Many Pop artists were preoccupied with the rise of mass culture and consumerism. Wayne Thiebaud expressed his interest in these weighty ideas through wonderful and whimsical still lifes of America’s favorite foods. In Cupcakes and Donuts, Thiebaud presents the viewer with a sickly-sweet view of pastries. Thiebaud’s neat rows of confections are quintessentially American, a snapshot that could come from any bakery or grocery store across the country. Though commonplace, Thiebaud renders the treats dramatically, as seen in the thick frosting of the doughnuts and the cherried tops of the cupcakes, transforming the everyday eats into something iconic.
Jasper Johns began his career in the 1950s, and he remains one of the most revered living artists. While perhaps best known for his series of painted flags, Johns’s Targets presents the viewer with an image both iconic and enigmatic. At first glance, the target’s shapes, concentric circles and squares, are easily understood. However, their placement is unsettling, creating an optical illusion that forces the viewer to closely examine the work, drawing their own conclusion.
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