Pop art is a school of art that emerged during the 1950s and became popular in the United Kingdom and United States during the 1960s. Pop artists were influenced by popular and commercial culture.
Pop art is often seen as a reaction to or expansion on abstract expressionism.
Pop art first came about during the 1950s. Around this time a number of artists were becoming interested in mass media, advertising and comic books.
The consumer boom which took place following the end of World War II sparked a fascination with popular culture which reflected the affluence of post-war society. Pop art celebrated the joy of commonplace, everyday items such as cans of soup, washing powder, comic books and other consumer products.
The term pop art was coined by English art critic Lawrence Alloway.
Modernist art critics felt that pop artists’ subject matter was too low brow and in no way critical. However, pop art took art into new areas of subject matter and bought it to a broader audience.
Previously, fine art had focussed on subject matter such as biblical stories, myths and legends. Pop art found a new inspiration in modern corporate marketing which is arguably equally worthy as an artistic influence.
Though not responsible for the movement, Warhol is often credited for bringing pop art to the public eye. Many of Warhol’s artworks such as Campbell’s Soup Cans, Marilyn Diptych and Elvis are seen today as part of the iconography of the 20th century.
Lichtenstein’s artworks employed a comic-strip style, making his art easily accessible to different audiences.
Other notable artists within this movement include Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Claes Oldenburg, Peter Blake and Patrick Caulfield.
On 9 May 2006, A Neat Lawn by David Hockney was sold at a Christie’s, New York sale. The piece was expected to sell for $3,500,000 - $4,500,000. The price realised was $3,600,000.
On 10 May 2006, a Roy Lichtenstein painting called Sinking Sun was sold at a Sotheby’s sale in New York. The piece sold for $15,696,000.
In October 2008 Andy Warhol's work Eight Elvises (1963) was sold to an anonymous buyer via French art consultant Philippe Ségalot for a record price of $100 million.
On 11 November 2009, 200 One Dollar Bills by Andy Warhol was sold at a Sotheby’s sale in New York. The piece sold for $43,762,500, well exceeding its pre-sale estimate of $8,000,000-$12,000,000.
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