By Mark Bloch
This page attempts to superficially and unofficially answer the question, "Who was the first Pop artist, anyway?"
In the 19th century Courbet and Manet are said to have based images on existing popular sources. (See 1940*)
1907 George Braques leaves two calling cards for Pablo Picasso. They meet.
1908-1914 Picasso and Braques develop together. Cubism born 1908.
1912 Cubism uses fragments of commercially printed papers. "Collage" invented by Braque and Picasso from Fench verb "coller" meaning "to glue". Folk and non western art preceded them but the first "official" collage is generally agreed to be Picasso's "Still Life with Chair Caning" 1912. In May 1912 he made it by gluing onto the surface of a painted composition a piece of oil cloth printed with a caning pattern. This is also the first appearance of a tromp l’oeil element in his painting.
1912 Papier colles, a french term meaning "Pasted papers" is a form of collage invented by Braque. Wallpaper and newspaper are pasted onto paper ground. The form of "construction" later extends this assemblage idea into three dimensions.
Spring 1912 Picasso creates Guitar a relief construction in sheet metal and wire. “…its revolutionary departure from the traditional approaches of modeling and carving opens the way to 20th century constructed sculpture…”
1912 Picasso"s "Violin Wineglasses, Pipe and Anchor" a oil on canvas shows fragments of words scattered throughout. (so do others predating this????)
Circa 1912- Jean Metzinger (1883-1956) in “Au Velodrome” (“At the Cycle Race Track”) features cut-outs of words from newspapers glued onto walls in the canvas’s stadium scene.
After 1912- Synthetic cubism new forms are created. This leads to the development of the Surrealist object in the 1930s.
1913- Futurist Luigi Russolo crates manifesto “Art of Noises.”
1913 George Braque "Checkerboard:'Tivoli Cinema'" The word JOURN appears painted in the background and an ad playbill or advertisement is pasted in its entirety featuring 'La Petite Fifi' and many other words, (some including playful nicknames for Picasso and Braque.) Gesso, charcoal oil and pasted paper on paper mounted on canvas.
1914- Futurist F.T. Marinetti "Words-in-Freedom" theory central to a renewal of typography in his book “Zang Tumb Tumb”.
1915- Futurist Carlo Carra (1881-1966) in painting “Inseguimento” (“Pursuit”) a collage horse made of cut-outs. Also contains stencil-like letters.
1915 Marcel Duchamp , “In Advance of a Broken Arm” Snow shovel is first “readymade.” A household object is “chosen to be an art object.
1916-17 Marcel Duchamp APPOLINERE ENAMELED Appolin enamel advertisement printed on tin is turned into an homage with altered text.
1919- Marcel Duchamp L.H.O.O.Q. Mona Lisa moustache readymade with pun.
1920 Man Ray “Enigma of Isadore Ducasse” Sewing machine wrapped with cloth and tape.
1920 Raoul Hausmann TATLIN AT HOME Photo montage of Vladimir Tatlin.
1920s Walter Richard Sickert paints portraits from snapshots.
1921- Stuart Davis “Lucky Strike” depicts an abstract rendering of a pack of cigarettes with complete phrases such as “Lucky Strike” and “The American Tobacco Co.” as well as other incomplete fragments of writing and the “Lucky Strike” logo. See also 1924.
1922 Gerald Murphy RAZOR "Three Stars Safety Matches" box is pictured in the painting.
1922 Man Ray created first "rayograms" by positioning three-dimensional objects onto photo-sensitive paper. Lazslo Moholy-Nagy does so around the same time called photograms.
1924 LE SIPHON Poster design and advertising copied by Fernand Leger in a painting focusing on everyday objects including a soda-siphon and a cocktail glass.
1924 Stuart Davis ODOL Spray bottle pictured in a paining "Odol it Purfies" it says. Davis’s use of contemporary subject matter such as cigarette packages, spark plug advertisements and the contemporary American landscape make him a proto-Pop artist.
1926 Kurt Schwitters Mz. 26, 41. okola- Agfa logo (large at the top) and other papers collaged into Merz collage. (There are many examples like this in Schwitters.)
1928-29 Rene Magritte L'USAGE DE LA PAROLE I Says "Ceci n'est pas une pipes" (“This is not a pipe”) under a painting of a pipe.
1930 Charles Demuth painting: "Buildings, Lancaster" features a big yellow and blue sign written on the side of a building "Office & Plant Eshelman est. 1881 Feed" and at the bottom we see part of a word "Aler" with a smoke stack.
*1940-41 Meyer Shapiro publishes "Courbet and Popular Imagery" in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, pp. 164-191. In the 19th century Courbet and Manet are said to have based images on existing popular sources.
1945-48 Ray Johnson studies Black Mountain College. 1948-52 Robert Rauschenburg studies Black Mountain. John Cage and Merce Cunningham, others, visit to teach. First multi-media Happening takes place 1952, staged by Cage.
1946 Peter Blake, age 14, begins art career in graphic design.
1947 In large work FOR KATE Schwitters uses comic book fragments
1947 Eduardo Paolozzi ‘s collage “I was a rich man’s plaything” contains “Intimate confessions” cover with a sexy pin-up girl in stockings, gun saying POP, cherry pie pasted (near her legs), Keep em flying (with a plane), logos for Real Gold and Coca Cola.
1947-1949 Eduardo Paolozzi uses fragments of comics, postcards, advertising and popular magazines in collages that are NOT intended as finished works. In Spring of 1952 he projects them onto a large screen with a epidiascope and delivers a fast lecture to colleagues of the Independent Group. In 1972 he publishes them as a portfolio of screen prints called BUNK!
1948 Eduardo Paolozzi uses the word "Pop" as a commercially printed word in a collage in “Meet the People.”
1949 Willem DeKooning puts newspapers in oil paintings to speed drying.
1949 Charles Demuth, “I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold” uses giant number 5 as subject of painting.
1949 Raymond Hains’ torn posters (afficheslaceres). Similar work being done by Wolf Vostell and Mimmo Rotella.
1950 Willem DeKooning WOMAN series puts smiling female mouth from a Camel ad into a figure, based on pin-up girls of the day. De Kooning later was alone among Abstract Expressionists in embracing his younger Pop counterparts
Early 50s Rauschenberg one man shows Betty Parsons (1951), Stable Gallery (1953) where he shows “black” and “white” paintings.
1952 Phillip Pearlstein SUPERMAN features superhero lurching intop Abstract Expressionist brushwork. While this was not typical of his work, it is interesting to note that in summer 1949 Pearlstein and Warhol moved together into a New York apartment from Pittsburgh.
1952 Isadore Isou (Portrait of Isadore Isou) Red, yellow green white lettering in gouache over black and white photographic print
1952- Composer John Cage creates “Williams Mix” and his composition of silence “4’33”.
1952-1955 Independent Group meets at ICA in London. It includes Eduardo Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton, , Nigel Henderson, a photographer who shot store fronts, Victor Pasmore, a constructivist painter and William Turnbull, an abstract painter and sculptor. Also architects Amison and Peter Smitson, critics and historians Lawrence Alloway, Reyner Banham and Toni del Renzio.
1953-56- Student magazine at Royal College of Art. Cinema, magazines, comics, and cartoons are examined by Richard Smith, Robyn Denny, Joe Tilson and editor Roger Coleman.
1953 Independent Group Exhibition “Parallel of Life and Art.”
1954-TRICKY CAD- CASE 1 From 1954-1959 Jess (Collins) creates "paste-ups," collaging rearranged Dick Tracy comic strips.
1954 Rauschenberg CHARLENE contains newspapers, reproductions of art works, pieces of cloth and a flattened umbrella.
1954 Peter Blake produces youth culture tributes with comics, printed ephemera, circus and wrestling images. “Children Reading Comics” depicts comics and newspapers meticulously rendered and he and his sister painted from a family photo.
1955 Peter Blake “Litter” uses fragments of cigarette packs, Captain Marvel card in trompe-l”oeil realism.
1955 Arman does “Cachets” creating an abstract expressionist image using only rubber stamp imprints.
Mid 50's- Robert Rauschenberg moves from collage to assemblage in his "Combines" in which found materials were treated as compositional elements, the most extreme of these collages could be described as “assisted READYMADES.”
1955 Ray Johnson's Moticos mentioned in article in the very first issue of the Village Voice. Johnson's collages are not seen in a one man show until 1965.
1955 Jasper Johns FLAG. Ist shown in January 1958 at Castelli Gallery.
1955- Jiro Joshihara, First Gutai Art Exhibition in Japan.
1955-57 Peter Blake ON THE BALCONY Life Magazine cover, other covers, and commercially printed works copied in a painting 47 x 35 inches.
1956 “This is Tomorrow” Independent Group at Whitechappel Art Gallery London. Richard Hamilton collage, “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” appears in the catalogue. Show also included black and white Op Art 7 years before Bridget Riley and an enlarged (life size) film still of Marilyn Monroe from “7 Year Itch.”
1956 CANVAS Jasper Johns appends a small canvas to another.
1956 Rauschenberg GLORIA contains a newspaper story "Gloria Weds Third Time" and three identical photographs of Gloria Vanderbilt in a wedding dress.
Mid to late 50s- Peter Blake’s first true pop works with a purposely weather beaten look: 1955’s “Loelia, World’s Most Tatooed Lady”; 1955-8’s “Dixie, Darling of the Midway” ; and two from 1957: “Siriol, She’Devil of Naked Madness” (which features Elvis tattoo on Siriol’s leg) and “Cherie, Only Bearded Tatooed Lady.”
1956-57- Ray Johnson uses mechanically reproduced images of James Dean and Rimbaud (with halftone screen visible) in his art. He paints on photographs of Elvis Presely taken from popular magazines. While Jasper Johns made life size replicas of his subjects by redrawing them, Johnson took the literalness one step further by simply lifting his mechanically reproduced images intact.
1957- Rauschenberg FACTUM I and II. He paints two "identical" paintings that feature found images including head of President Eisenhower.
1957 Pablo Picasso puts Charlie Brown into 1 of 58 variations of Velasquez homage LAS MENINAS.
1957 Wallace Berman publishes first issue of “Semina,” as much an assemblage as it is a poetry magazine. Berman also does “darkroom drawings” of light exposed and chemically processed writing and drawing on gelatin silver photo paper.
1957 Ferus Gallery show in Los Angeles by Wallace Berman contains assemblages. Closed by police.
1958 Robert Rauschenberg CURFEW, COCA COLA PLAN Coke bottles actually in the work... (Three in COCA COLA PLAN)
Feb 1958 Lawrence Alloway's popular art/fine art continuum first published in "The Arts and the Mass Media" in "Architectural Design" 28, no. 2.
1958 “Flashlight II” by Johns uses real flashlight.
1958 Jasper Johns uses three ALLEY OOPS comic strip panels against an orange background
1959 Following Johns' Castelli Show, Larry Rivers paints playing cvards, cigarette packs, bank notes and magazine photos of Civil War veterans.
1957 Hommage a Chrysler Corp. features bra and car ad imagery-. Hamilton(?)
1958-61 “$he” features a freezer enlargement and a 3D plastic winking eye.
April 1958 Yves Klein creates and empty space “La Vide.”
1958 Anthropometries- painted by Klein in which blue paint is applied to bodies to use as “brushes”. Named by Restany 1960.
1958 Christo wraps found objects in cloth and plastic. Packed bottles and cans.
Late 1950’s Nikki Saint Phalle, Klein, Arman, Oldenburg, Dine, others, do live performances. George Brecht, Yoko Ono write event scores on cards.
Late 1950’s Leningrad born Boris Lurie—co-founder of NO!art movement creates "anti-Pop" NO!art paintings and assemblages.
1959 Peter Blake does several celebrity tributes “Sinatra Door”, “Kim Novak Wall”, “Everly (Brothers) Wall” and “Girlie Door”, featuring images of Marilyn Monroe, Gina Lolabrigida, Shirley Maclaine and others).
1959- Arman moves from rubber stamp imprints to actual objects (rubber stamps.)
1960 Daniel Spoerri Assemblage “Kichka’s Breakfast I” Begins Snare pictures (tableaux-pieges), adhering remnants of meals to a surface.
May 1960 Pierre Restany writes a manifesto for the New Realists (Les Nouveaux Realistes) for a Milan exhibition.
1960-61 Peter Blake completes “Got A Girl” featuring Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Ricky Nelson, Bobby Rydell and 2 Elvises. The title is the name of a 45 rpm record by the 4 Preps that is adhered to the surface of the work.. Blake also used the lyrics of the song as a found object.
1961 Spoerri “Collection of spices” (Colletion de epices) 3 shelves with spices and condiments.
1961- Martial Raysse”Hygiene de la vision” Mass produced articles with photo of a woman from Abre Solaire suntran lotion.
May 7- July 30, 1961- George Maciunas “Musica Antiqua et Nova” series of events at AG Gallery features, Richard Maxfield, John Cage, Toshi Ichiyanagi, LaMmonte Young, Henry Flynt, Walter DeMaria, Ray Johnson, Yoko Ono, Dick Higgins and Joseph Byrd among others.
1961- Curator William Seitz "The Art of Assemblage" at the Museum of Modern Art.
1962 “Chopins Waterloo” Example of Arman tantrums (Coleres) Violent treatment of objects presented as an art event.
Late 1962 New Realists show at the Sidney Janis Gallery (Les Nouveaux Realistes)
Yves Klein heart attack 6 June 1962 was similar to the deaths of Pollock and later Robert Smithson deaths in that they shook the art world philosophically as well as socially then died unexpectedly. Art changes course.