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Pop Art. Features and History

14 mayo, 2017  —  By

History of pop art. From the first work of ART POP, the first artists and the most emblematic works

Pop Art creates works of art from preexisting objects. The pop artist connects advertisements, images of industrial propaganda and, in short, any element inserted in the mass culture … until turning them into works of art.

Pop Art broke a visual barrier and concept, sometimes using technique initiated by other artists long ago, others innovating from originality to impress our retinas and our minds and our senses …

The purpose of this article is to contribute a series of key ideas about this historical process and, at the same time, to define it chronologically.

It was the British art critic Lawrence Alloway who in 1954 coined the term Pop Art to refer to a new form of artistic expression that was creating the culture of mass advertising.

Nevertheless, years later the concept of the term was extended by the same critic, to designate the works of artists who used popular images within a context of art considered as cult or elitist.

The First Pop Art Artwork

Just what is make today´s home so different, so appealing?
Just what is make today´s home so different, so appealing?. The First Pop Art 

The first work that criticism refers to as a work of Pop Art was “Just what is make today’s home so different, so appealing?” (Simply put, what makes today’s homes so different, So flashy?)

This work by Richard Hamilton (the most distinguished artist of the so-called Independent Group) was presented at an exhibition bearing the significant name “This Is Tomorrow” developed at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London.

It was the year 1956. On the canvas you can see the outline of the main objects that would inspire pop artists in the future. It is also more than significant that appears in the center of the image, as we can see above, the word “pop”.

Tom Wasselman
Tom Wasselman

Fame and Criticism of Pop Art

Pop Art faced some difficulties when it came to gaining critical consideration. If it was in the United States where, in a clear way, it was developing and gaining space in the works of the new and young creative, it was also in that country where the first detractors won, considering that the Pop Art, somehow, was throwing By land all that had been gained by Abstract Expressionism, the first artistic movement that in the fifties of the twentieth century had been considered as the stream, or style, properly North American that managed to cross the borders.

Something of the utmost importance for a nation, of a young history which, compared with the European ones, was at a great cultural distance. Far from comparative grievances or controversies, Pop Art prevailed as an artistic stream, for critics and for the public.

The Collage: Concomitances with Dadaism

While Francis Bacon had already recovered elements of Dadaism proper by combining pictorial works cut from newspapers, the collage – also used by Cubists – was developed by pop artists as “Assemblage”. Marcel Duchamp would come to declare: “This neo-Dada that they call new realism, pop art … is an easy way to get by and live what Dada did. When I discovered the ready-mades I thought about attacking aesthetics.

In the neo-Dada they have taken my ready-mades and have found them the aesthetic beauty. I threw the bottle rack and the urinal to the face as a provocation and now admire them for their aesthetic beauty.

As pointed out in the article Dada: Rejecting Culture Making Culture explained that this movement started from anti-art, sailing against. However, the Art Pop Art, creating works of art.

Top Pop Artists

Richard Hamilton

No doubt the initiator of Pop Art with his work “Just what is make today’s home is different, so appealing” describes perfectly the character of the group.

Images that gloss over consumerism and popular culture reflected in canned food, a television, a tape recorder.

All surrounded by a muscular man and an essentially erotic woman looking at the viewer, perhaps with the same face of surprise drawing the feature of his flat features.

Jasper Johns

Around 1958, this North American began to elaborate works based on current objects such as flags, targets, maps of the United States or numbers.


Robert Rauschenberg

Was one of the first pop artists, won the Venice Biennale award becoming one of the precursors of this current in the United States.

His work oscillates between Abstract Expressionism and what has come to be called neodadaism.

From 1955 he put into practice his “combined paintings”, consisting of paintings painted on canvases in which he introduced photographs.

One of the examples is the work “Tracer” reproduced in this article and one of his most famous works.

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol. 20 Marylins
The most popular and well-known character of the pop artists, Andy Warhol, began doing publicity work, although soon with its series on images of consumer objects -Coca-Cola, soups Campbell-, images of icons of the cinema or social life -Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, or Jaqueline Kennedy-; As well as images describing racial riots or accidents, made him stand out in this artistic stream.
Then came the mediatic significance that catapulted him to become an icon, so famous from the sociological point of view as artistic.

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol. 20 Marylins


Edoardo Paolozzi. “Yo Fui el juguete de un hombre rico”

Edoardo Paolozzi. "I was a rich man's toy.

Edoardo Paolozzi. Of Italian origin and born in Edinburgh, it has gone down in history as the initiator of the pop movement in Great Britain.

Like Warhol used commercial images as well as erotic images.

Roy Lichtenstein

It came to be considered the most outstanding figure of the American Pop Art.

He focused his work on the use of comics vignettes copied with an epidiascope, of which he would then streak the points to apply the spot colors.

Tom Wesselman.

Like Warhol and Lichtenstein, he based his work on the development of artistic works from comics, although he enlarged his work with collage and painting, focusing on nude and still life his art, surrounded by flat, Suggestive

To know more:

“The Art Today. From Expressionism to New Realism “. E. Lucie-Smith.
“Depuis 45: L’Art de Notre Temps. AA VV.