Live on Artnet Auctions: Four Iconic Pop Art Prints That Defined the Movement

Premier Prints & Multiples, now available on Artnet Auctions, offers a curated selection of works spanning a wide range of movements and styles.

The past and the present are linked in this sale through several exceptional pieces of Pop art, the movement that marked 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. catching our imagination and forcing us all to think critically about the world around us.

Read on to learn about four Pop prints, available through April 7.

Roy Lichtenstein
Nude with yellow pillow (from the Nude series) (1994)

Roy Lichtenstein, Nude with yellow pillow (from the Nude series) (1994). Live now in Premier Prints & Multiples at Artnet Auctions. East. $200,000 to $300,000.

The appearance and behavior of this glamorous nude is reminiscent of mermaids and heroines from popular novels and comics. Thick lines and bold, repetitive Ben-Day stitches nude with yellow pillow instantly recognizable as a work by American artist Roy Lichtenstein. While Lichtenstein employs a decidedly modern style in his Nude series, the subject matter is essentially traditional. The female nude has captured the eyes and imaginations of artists for centuries, from the bathing venuses in marble of antiquity to the reclining odalisques of masters like Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Henri Matisse.

Keith Haring
Art Attack on AIDS (1988)

Keith Haring, Art Attack on AIDS (1988). Live now in Premier Prints & Multiples at Artnet Auctions. East. $80,000 to $120,000.

Keith Haring’s work emerged in the 1980s as the perfect, if irreverent, union between Pop and Street art. Whatever the medium, be it graffiti in New York City subway stations or a screen print, Haring’s human and anthropomorphic creatures are instantly recognizable and understandable, acting as modern hieroglyphs to easily convey messages to a wide range of viewers. Following the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic, Haring sought to raise awareness by creating promotional posters. In a rare serigraph on veneer plywood, Art Attack on AIDS, Haring’s figures duel, throwing comic blows at each other. But, while Haring’s numbers seem playful, his message about the difficult fight against AIDS is decidedly serious and clear.

Wayne Thiebaud
Cupcakes and Donuts (2006)

Wayne Thiebaud, Cupcakes and Donuts (2006). Live now in Premier Prints & Multiples at Artnet Auctions. East. $15,000 to $20,000.

Many pop artists were concerned with the rise of mass culture and consumerism. Wayne Thiebaud expressed his interest in these important ideas through wondrous and whimsical still lifes of America’s favorite foods. In Cupcakes and Donuts, Thiebaud presents the viewer with a sickening vision 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. Although unremarkable, Thiebaud renders treats in spectacular fashion, as seen in the thick frosting of donuts and the cherry tops of cupcakes, transforming everyday meals into something iconic.

Jasper Johns
Targets (1967-1968)

Jasper Johns, Targets (1967-1968). Live now in Premier Prints & Multiples at Artnet Auctions. East. $40,000 to $60,000.

Jasper Johns began his career in the 1950s, and he remains one of the most revered living artists. Although perhaps best known for its series of painted flags, Johns’s Targets presents the viewer with an image that is both iconic and enigmatic. At first glance, the shapes of the target, concentric circles and squares, are easy to understand. However, their placement is unsettling, creating an optical illusion that forces the viewer to examine the work closely, drawing their own conclusion.

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Elaine F. Brim