Best Pop Art Paintings That Shaped The Modern Art

Pop art paintings featured image

Pop art paintings!

Have you ever seen the advertisements, comics, books, or newspapers from the 1950s?

Back when the USA and the UK were adapting the concept of pop art, the paintings and imagery started getting mass attention from the audience.

Pop art paintings were often compared to abstract artworks, but they were mainly considered an amalgamation of both radical and shocking artworks.

With a hidden message of taunting society and covering the darker depths of societal taboos, Pop art paintings have come a long way.

Today I have compiled a list for you that consists of some of the most famous pop artworks.

What is Pop Art?

Pop art was the outcome of a crucial artistic movement that dominated the middle of the 20th century.

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The motto behind the pop art movement was that it appreciated and praised popular culture over elite culture.

It is also a fact that Dadaism is somewhere considered the ancestor of pop art, which featured various renowned artists of Dadaism

There were many pop artists who wanted to prove that sources from popular and commercial culture could challenge traditional notions of art.

Ads, celebrities, everyday cultural artifacts, and comic book characters, provided most of the inspiration.

Here are some of the most famous pop art paintings that still reign in the art world today.

Suggested Read: Pop Art Movement

1. Look Mickey

Look Mickey is a famous pop art painting by Roy Lichtenstein
Image Source: Sartle

Look Mickey is an astonishing pop art painting by Roy Lichtenstein. 

This painting acted as a bridge between his abstract expressionism and his pop art paintings.

Look Mickey was widely known for its aesthetic value and the humor it withheld.

This pop art painting marks Roy’s first full use of all the painting techniques that he could use to reproduce a complete replica of a comic strip.

This painting depicts the first time that an artist has incorporated the use of Ben-Day dots to give texture to a pop art painting.

Roy portrayed the fishing mishap and modified it as well as the original source of the painting.

Look Mickey was regarded by critics as revolutionary for the future of modern art and pop art culture in general. 

2. A Bigger Splash

A bigger splash is a painting by Hockney
Image Source: artofericwayne

A Bigger Splash is a famous pop art painting by Hockney. 

Hockney learned that every home in Los Angeles had a pool after relocating there recently.

Hockney painted a number of images of swimming pools outside of houses between 1964 and 1971.

The show contrasts Hockney’s frantic, hectic life in New York with the calmer, Californian way of life he encountered.

His constant goal was to experiment with new techniques to mimic the constantly shifting water’s surface. 

He understood that because they dried more quickly than oil paints, acrylic paints were better suited for painting vivid, suburban scenes.

Hockney was inspired to create “A Bigger Splash” by an illustration from a book on swimming pool construction.

The background, on the other hand, was made using a drawing of buildings found in a rural area of California.

Although there are no humans in the artwork, the splash that was made on the pool’s surface implies that there might have been.

The chair and a palm tree make up the majority of the image.

(Also Read: Rothko’s No. 61)

3. Radiant Baby

Radiant baby is one of the famous pop art paintings by Keith Haring
Image Source: Fine Art America

The most well-known piece of pop art by Keith Haring is Radiant Baby. This pop art piece depicts the silhouette of a baby crawling.

To represent the glow the baby is emitting, or at the very least to catch the viewer’s attention, lines are coming from the baby.

For Keith, the baby is said to be emanating life and energy.

Keith decided on a baby because, historically, they have been used in art as a representation of innocence and fresh starts.

The infant, however, is depicted by itself because it is completely capable of supporting itself and shows no signs of vulnerability.

The full premiere of this painting, however, took place at the Public Theater in 2003 after being partially developed at the O’Neil Music Theater Conference in Watford.

4. Crack is Wack

A famous pop art painting by Keith Haring
Image Source: TheCollector

Crack is Wack is a street wall mural painting that was created by one of the most famous painters, Keith Haring. 

This wall mural is used as a warning sign against the use of cocaine and is one of the most famous anti-drug artworks that have ever been made. 

Keith created this mural when the US experienced the widespread use of illegal drugs and trafficking. 

This pop art painting was the frontline fighter for the US government’s war on drugs. 

PS: Keith was arrested multiple times while making these artworks on the walls, as he was charged with vandalizing public property. 

The versions were altered in the making, yet one of the two previous murals still stands in East Harlem, New York. 

5. Still Life #35

This is a pop art painting by Tom Wesselman
Image Source: Artsy

Even though Tom Wesselman, the artist, disavows any connection to the movement, this collage painting is a superb example of Pop Art.

The artwork includes white bread, a bottle of Coke, a can of stew, lemons, and a pack of cigarettes, all of which are emblematic of America in the middle of the 20th century.

Due to the saturation of color throughout the frame, all of the subjects appear manufactured or fictitious to the viewer.

The painting has a landscape-like feel to it because the artist has depicted a jetliner flying outside the window over an emerald ocean surface.

This is done to conceal all the anxiety and suffering that permeate their lives while creating the illusion of the joyful, carefree reality offered by the American dream.

6. Brillo Box

Brillo is a famous pop artwork by Andy Warhol
Image Source: Daily Mail

The commercial packaging offered by “Brillo” is accurately portrayed in Andy Warhol’s “Brillo Box.”

The message that art should engage with life and that viewers should consider what they value and perceive in art is one of the main points of the artist’s work. 

Warhol used a variety of painting styles and techniques to paint numerous boxes of Brillo over the course of his artistic career. 

To make his art seem similarly mass-produced, he sold these pieces to various museums, galleries, and collectors.

Even then, the placements and lighting of each of Andy’s Brillo Boxes are distinctive; no two are alike.

He called his workshop “The Factory” because he produced his artwork in large quantities while attempting to avoid the commercial world. 

7. Marilyn Diptych

Marilyn Diptych is a pop art painting by Andy
Image Source: Wikipedia

Andy Warhol created “Marilyn Diptych” as a tribute to her and was chosen as the third most important contemporary artist.

Marilyn Monroe had everyone enthralled, including Andy. 

She was a well-known figure in pop culture, and Andy’s work was regarded as one of the most well-known examples of pop art to explicitly reference her.

Marilyn’s photograph from a 1953 publicity photo shoot for the movie Niagara served as the basis for this multi-canvas composition.

It is one of the most famous pop art portraits, regardless of one’s familiarity with the movement.

The piece of art is divided into two sections by a canvas that is covered in fifty images of the actress.

The left column is pThe diptych design was a tribute to the saintly qualities of the well-known individuals, which gave them the reputation of being holy and eternal. 

This pop art painting is painted in vibrant, bright colors with an overlaying silkscreen effect.

On the other hand, as the painting approaches completion, the right column is left in grayscale and gradually fades out.

8. I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything

I was a Rich man's plaything is a pop artwork by Eduardo Paolozzi
Image Source: Tate

A leader and essential component of the British avant-garde after World War II, Eduardo Paolozzi was regarded as both. 

Some of the earliest examples of the yet-to-emerge pop art styles were produced by him.

As a member of the nebulous Independent Group, Paolozzi focused on how technology and popular culture affect high art.

A pulp fiction book cover, a Coca-Cola commercial, and a military recruitment poster were all collaged together to create the piece “I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything.” 

The “Intimate Confessions” magazine cover is the most noticeable component of the collage, which makes up the top two-thirds of the piece.

By sticking a gun with the word “pop” on it, this piece of pop art was the first to do so. 

It is widely acknowledged that this collage, which is Paolozzi’s most well-known piece, was the first Pop Art movement standard bearer.

His collage “I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything” served as an essential Pop Art movement cornerstone piece.

Due to the misogynistic and violent tone of its content, this work from a contemporary perspective highlights some troubling issues.

This iconic pop art piece only shows women as the objects of male sex.

In today’s politically correct environment, even the gun aimed at the woman’s head would be unpopular.

9. Drowning Girl

Drowning girl is one of the famous pop art paintings by Lichtenstein
Image Source: Redbubble

“I Do not Care!” is a common nickname for Drowning Girl, one of Lichtenstein’s most well-known pop art works.

It is regarded as a pillar of his work and essentially marked the demise of Abstract Expressionism as the preeminent movement.

Instead of simply copying the comic strips verbatim, he developed a unique technique to produce fresh and dramatic compositions.

The woman’s boyfriend was shown in the original picture, watching over her from a boat.

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Due to the printing technique and the use of speech balloons to convey ideas, this well-known work of pop art has the appearance of a comic book page. 

The dialogue in the panel says, “I DONT CARE! I’D RATHER SINK — THAN CALL BRAD FOR HELP!”

Due to its obvious disconnection from the rest of the story, it gives the play a satirical tone.

Run for Love! by DC Comics, a series of Secret Love comic books, served as its inspiration.

The girl seems to be in a toxic relationship and would rather drown than ask for any help from her partner.

After Whaam!, Lichtenstein’s painting The Drowning Girl is considered a “masterpiece of melodrama.”

It is up to the viewer to determine whether he was praising or criticizing the comic.

It has been part of MoMA’s permanent collection since 1971.

10. President-Elect

James Rosenquist's president elect is a pop art painting
Image Source: Artsper

John F. Kennedy, a cake slice from an advertisement, and a yellow Chevrolet are depicted in James Rosenquist’s remarkably left-leaning painting titled “President-elect.”

This collage painting was made by the artist using images that were removed from their original context and then pieced together to fit a monumental scale.

He stuck a propaganda poster of President John F. Kennedy’s face on the wall because he was fascinated by people who liked to advertise themselves.

And at the time, it was Kennedy’s promise of half a Chevrolet and a stale piece of cake.

This made it one of the most divisive pieces of art that aroused outrage all over the world. 

This was regarded as his most important piece of pop art. His other works, however, demonstrated his preference for persuasion through advertising.

James uses a large-scale piece of art to demonstrate his talent for contrasting, fusing, and combining distinct images to create a more comprehensive image.

11. Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, and So Appealing?

This is a pop art painting that was made by John
Image Source: Tate

In the art world, it is widely believed that “Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?” is the movement’s foundational work.

Instead of the customary fig leaf, Adam is depicted in this pop art with his genitalia covered by a massive lollipops.

The origin of the phrase “Tootsie Pop” as a movement name. 

In actuality, as a parody of American advertising, it was the first work of pop art to become recognizable.

By using magazine cutouts, the collage creates the impression of a 1950s lounge.

Because it shows Adam and Eve wearing contemporary attire, it is one of the most well-known pop art paintings.

Numerous elements of the popular mass media and postwar consumerism are all around them.  

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There is no denying that this work of pop art is satirical.

This satire ridicules the materialism of the mid-20th century industrial and advertising booms.

The pieces for this masterpiece were put together for the 1956 exhibition “This is Tomorrow” at London’s Whitechapel Gallery.

Additionally to being featured on advertising posters, it was featured in the exhibition book. 

12. Flag

Flag is a pop art painting by Jasper John
Image Source: Wikipedia

One of the most sought-after and well-known works of pop art by Jasper Johns is called “Flag.”

His contributions to painting, printing, and sculpture have influenced almost every artistic movement.

This ranged from Abstract Expressionism, through Neo-Dada, to the more contemporary Pop Art movement.

Johns was a painter who contributed to the acceptance of consumer culture in pop art.

He painted flags, maps, and targets frequently, despite not including any human subjects in his works.

At the age of 24, Jasper Johns debuted “Flag” in his first solo exhibition.

Supposedly, he had a dream about the American flag that served as his inspiration for the piece of art.

Only 48 white stars are present because the artwork was produced before more states were added to the flag. 

In addition, thirteen stripes in red and white are shown.

The popularity of “Flag” led Johns to create nearly 40 additional works with the American flag as their inspiration.

The mediums included caustic, oil paint, and a collage made from newsprint.

Johns was happy to use a well-known image because it relieved him of the responsibility of designing.

He used various materials to create this seemingly straightforward but intricate piece.

Panels, paint, and encaustic—a pigment-and-melted-wax mixture that captures the paint’s drips, smears, and brushstrokes—were the materials. 

In keeping with the non-political tone of his artwork, his newspaper cuts lacked any headlines.

He concentrated instead on the then-common commercial aspects of printing.  

13. Whaam!

Whaam is a pop art painting by Roy Lichtenstein
Image Source: Tate

Whaam!, a work by the even more well-known American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, is one of the most well-known pop art pieces.

A fighter jet using a missile to bring down another plane is shown in the painting, which is made up of two canvases.

The entire piece is rendered in a comic-strip fashion using a limited, primary color palette and a block color design.

With this printing method, comic books could have shading and colors at a low cost.

The word bubbles and block letter-sound effects are comical clichés.

A plane-on-plane aerial battle is depicted in one of Lichtenstein’s numerous Pop Art works.

Irv Novick’s comic strip from All-American Men of War, published by DC Comics, served as the source of inspiration for this work. 

It “records while gently parodying modern America’s conventional hero images.

14. On The Balcony

On the balcony is a pop art painting by Peter Blake
Image Source: Wikipedia

Peter Blake is a talented artist who has worked in commercial design, engraving, printing, and sculpture. 

The most well-known of his collages, which combine pop culture imagery with fine art, are those.

Along with traditional fine art, his animated works feature images of wrestlers, music hall performers, movie stars, advertisements, and more. 

One of the well-known works of pop art that draws inspiration from Eduard Manet’s “The Balcony” (1868) is this one.

In fact, a boy can be seen holding a copy of it over there on the left. 

Despite appearing to be a collage, this well-known work of pop art is entirely painted.

It demonstrates Blake’s unique technique for producing meta-pictures, or paintings of paintings within paintings.

The balcony theme recurs throughout the painting, with 32 distinct balcony scenarios represented in various photographs, images, and works of art.

The most well-known piece of art by Peter Blake and a classic example of British pop art is “On the Balcony.”

15. Campbell’s Soup Cans

Campbell's Soup Cans is a pop art painting
Image Source: Wikipedia

“Campbell’s Soup Cans” is a painting that was begun in late 1961 and finished in April of 1962. It is divided into 32 canvases to resemble a shelf in a grocery store.

All of the cans are uniformly copied onto the canvas using the silkscreen technique, making them all indistinguishable from one another aside from their distinctive tastes.

Campbell’s Soup Cans were a part of Warhol’s first solo show, which he held at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.

By enthusiastic supporters of the abstract movement, this work of art was seen as a jab and disrespect for traditional ideologies.

It was designed to look expressionless, and he loved seeing beauty in things that others might find mundane or conventional.

This is a superb illustration of Pop Art’s use of the mass-production commercial aesthetic that became its defining characteristic. 

His goal was to elevate the commercial modern era’s symbols to a higher plane.

This is one of Andy Warhol’s most well-known works of pop art, in which he incorporated elitist fine art methods.

Conclusion 

These were some of the most talked about artworks from the era of pop art.

Not just the OG pop artists were the ones who claimed the notion of art beyond limits, but there are also a lot of contemporary artists who claim the same.

Pop art paintings have always been associated with an art form that acted as a rebel, as was the artist’s mindset behind creating them. 

Does it all tempt you to get a pop art painting for yourself?

Then, don’t stress too much, we’ve got the right options for you!

Author’s Note

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What quality makes a painting, pop art?

Any painting which incorporates daily life objects like soup cans, newspapers, etc in a very significant way, that painting is said to be pop art.

Q2. Name 5 famous pop art paintings.

5 famous pop art paintings are: Drowning Girl (Roy Lichtenstein), Campbell’s Soup Cans (Andy Warhol), Look Mickey (Roy Lichtenstein), Radiant Baby (Keith Haring), and Whaam! (Roy Lichtenstein).

Q3. What does the word Pop Art fully mean?

Pop art refers to the popular culture and art.

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