Pop Art Timeline

Controversial, subversive and innovative – over 100 works by the godfather of Pop Art will feature in Tate Liverpool’s exciting exhibition, Transmitting Andy Warhol. Explore the history of Pop Art from its early roots in 1940s collage by British artists to US pioneers such as Jasper Johns through to the masters of Pop, Warhol and Lichtenstein. You can get 50% off Transmitting Andy Warhol at Tate Liverpool with a National Art Pass.

Pop Art Timeline
1947
Eduardo Paolozzi includes the word Pop in a work

Scottish artist, illustrator and co-founder of the Independent Group (IG) Eduardo Paolozzi pioneers a new style in I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything, containing cut-up images of a pinup girl, Coca-Cola logo, cherry pie and the word Pop. This work is often cited as the precursor of the Pop Art movement.

Eduardo Paolozzi, I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything, 1947
Eduardo Paolozzi, I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything, 1947
Eduardo Paolozzi, I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything, 1947
1952
Paolozzi presents Bunk! to Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton

Paolozzi presented a lecture to the IG at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London using a series of collages titled Bunk! The work included found objects such as advertising, comic book characters, magazine covers and various mass-produced graphics that referenced American popular culture.

The group consisted of Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton, William Turnbull and art critic Lawrence Alloway.


ICA, London

ICA, London
1954
Critics and artists start to use the word Pop

John McHale, also a founder-member of the IG and ICA reportedly coins the phrase Pop Art although many believe it was in fact art critic Lawrence Alloway. The IG artists and critics use the phrase Pop in the mid-1950s to describe the merging of mass pop culture with high art to produce a new aesthetic in response to the commercialisation of Western culture.

1955-
1957
Peter Blake creates On the Balcony

The painting, which at first sight looks like a collage, depicts people holding well known works of art. On the Balcony becomes an iconic work in the Pop Art cannon which is now on display at Tate Britain.

Peter Blake, On the Balcony, 1955-57
Peter Blake, On the Balcony, 1955-57
Peter Blake, On the Balcony, 1955-57
1956
Richard Hamilton’s iconic Pop collage goes on display

Hamilton's collage Just What Is It that Makes Today's Home So Different and So Appealing? appears at Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. The Pop Art aesthetic is born.

Richard Hamilton, Just What Is It that Makes Today's Home So Different and So Appealing?, 1956
Richard Hamilton, Just What Is It that Makes Today's Home So Different and So Appealing?, 1956
Richard Hamilton, Just What Is It that Makes Today's Home So Different and So Appealing?, 1956
1957
Hamilton defines Pop
‘Popular (designed for a mass audience); Transient (short term solution); Expendable (easily forgotten); Low Cost; Mass Produced; Young (aimed at Youth); Witty; Sexy; Gimmicky; Glamorous; and Big Business’
1958
Lawrence Alloway establishes Pop Art
‘The term, originated in England by me, as a description of mass communications, especially, but not exclusively, visual ones’

Art critic Lawrence Alloway publishes the essay The Arts and the Mass Media which uses the phrase ‘mass popular art’.

1950s
mid-late
Pop Art emerges in US

American Neo-Dada artists and lovers Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg set the scene for US Pop Art, using mass imagery, iconography and found objects and employing techniques such as printmaking, silkscreen and collage.

Jasper John, Flag, 1954
Jasper John, Flag, 1954
Jasper John, Flag, 1954
1961
Roy Lichtenstein creates his first Pop Art works
‘Pop Art is the use of commercial art as a subject matter in painting. It was hard to get a painting that was despicable enough so that no one would hang it – everybody was hanging everything. The one thing everyone hated was commercial art; and apparently they didn’t hate that enough either.’ Roy Lichtenstein

A series by Lichtenstein depicts household objects such as hot dogs and trainers using cartoon imagery.

1962
march
BBC broadcasts Pop Goes the Easel

BBC’s flagship arts show Monitor airs Pop Goes the Easel, a beautiful documentary looking at young British Pop artists of the day, including Sir Peter Blake and Pauline Boty.


Pop Goes the Easel

Pop Goes the Easel
1962
july
Andy Warhol has his first solo show

Warhol’s first solo show in Los Angeles displays the now infamous 32 paintings of Campbell’s soup cans, one for every flavour.


The visual style of Pop Art is established; bright, often primary colours, iconic imagery drawn from advertising and mainstream media, use of collage, silkscreen, large-scale canvasses and the use of irony, parody and wit.

Collins Dictionary describes Pop Art as: ‘a movement in modern art that imitates the methods, styles, and themes of popular culture and mass media, such as comic strips, advertising, and science fiction’
1962
november
Warhol exhibits Marilyn Diptych

Warhol’s first New York solo show includes the Marilyn Diptych just months after Monroe’s death. The painting will take centre stage at Tate Liverpool’s Andy Warhol exhibition.

Andy Warhol, Marilyn Diptych, 1962
Andy Warhol, Marilyn Diptych, 1962
Andy Warhol, Marilyn Diptych, 1962
1962
december
Symposium on Pop Art is held at Museum of Modern Art, NY

The symposium introduces the term Pop Art to the art community. Warhol and Duchamp are in the audience.


MOMA, New York

MOMA, New York
1963
march
The Guggenheim presents landmark Pop Art show

Six Painters and the Object curated by IG’s Lawrence Alloway marks the high point of Pop Art with work by Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol included.

1963
september
Lichtenstein’s Whaam! Goes on display

Whaam! is exhibited at Leo Castelli’s gallery in New York City. The work epitomises Lichtenstein’s style – comic strip motifs, bright primary colours, large format, stylised form and humour. Tate Gallery bought the painting in 1966 for £3,940 and it is now on permanent display at Tate Modern, London.

Roy Lichtenstein, Whaam!, 1963
Roy Lichtenstein, Whaam!, 1963
1963
Warhol makes Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)
This work would become the highest selling Warhol, sold for...
US$105 million
1964
Life magazine voices Pop Art backlash

The magazine publishes an article on Lichtenstein with the title ‘Is He the Worst Artist in the U.S.?’ which galvanises distrust and criticism of the Pop artists as money-making copycats.


Andy Warhol responds to these accusations with his trademark dry wit and nonchalance

Andy Warhol responds to these accusations with his trademark dry wit and nonchalance
1965
Warhol churns out creations in the Factory

With help from numerous assistants at his studio, the Factory in New York, Warhol maximises productivity.


Watch a CBC archive clip of the artist making a screenprint of Electric Chair

Watch a CBC archive clip of the artist making a screenprint of Electric Chair
1966
Lichtenstein abandons Pop Art
Moving away from his iconic Pop Art style, Lichtenstein works on his Modern Paintings and Modern Sculpture series.
1967
Peter Blake designs Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album sleeve

The Beatles release their eighth album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with artwork created by Peter Blake and his then wife Jann Haworth. This was to become an iconic piece of British Pop Art.

1968
june
Warhol is shot

Radical feminist Valerie Solanas shoots Andy Warhol which would change Warhol’s life forever; the Factory became more tightly secured and Warhol’s health never fully regained, having to wear a surgical corset for the rest of his life. The end of Pop Art is nigh.


Alan Cumming on Pop Art

Alan Cumming on Pop Art

Transmitting Andy Warhol is at Tate Liverpool until 8 February 2015. Get 50% off with a National Art Pass.