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Christie’s head of postwar and contemporary art Frances Outred has said that early British pop art is crying out for serious appraisal, “What’s really interesting here is that it’s not like the British were second – they were the first.
Laing’s earliest pop art pieces presented young starlets or bikini-clad beauties bursting with sex appeal, capturing the excitement and exuberance of the 1960s.’, considered by some historians to mark the birth of the pop art movement.Hamilton is credited with coining the phrase ‘pop art’ itself.Her rebellious art, combined with her free-spirited lifestyle, made her a herald of 1970s feminism.Although Jann Haworth is an American born artist she spent many years living in England, moving to London in 1961 to study art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art and studio art at the Slade.During the late 1950s, Peter Blake became one of the best known pioneers of British pop art.
Studying at the Royal College of Art (1953-7), he was placed in the centre of Swinging London and came into contact with the leading figures of popular culture.
While living in New York (1964-5) he discovered a rich fund of imagery in the sexually motivated popular illustrations of the 1940s and 1950s.
Henceforth, in paintings such as ‘Perfect Match’, he made explicit previously subdued eroticism.
These things fed into his artwork and with the passage of time his sculptures now encapsulate the spirit of swinging London.
Pauline Boty was a founder of British pop art and the only female painter in the British wing of the movement.
Here’s an introduction to some of the renowned and lesser known British artists who led the way in the cutting-edge exploration of the paradoxical imagery of popular culture.