A Collection of CollectionsA Collection of Collections

British Pop Art

A new generation of artists emerged from art schools in the 1950s and early 1960s that made a lasting impact on Britain's art scene. Pop Art reflected the changes in contemporary society. It took inspiration from advertising, comics, science fiction and contemporary music. Pop artists used non traditional materials in their work, such as screen-printing, commercial house paints and incorporated found objects and collage.

Many of the artists addressed the social changes of the ‘swinging sixties': Peter Blake's iconic work ‘The Beatles 1962' is the epitome of the British Pop Art movement, directly referencing cultural phenomena and the new found cult of celebrity. Richard Hamilton's ‘Swingeing London ‘67' places Chichester at the heart of popular culture and politics, documenting the arrest locally of Mick Jagger for drugs possession. Colin Self's work gives a social and political commentary on the Cold War and threat of the nuclear bomb.

The 1960s saw artists using the commercial process of silk screen printing for fine art purposes for the first time. The Kelpra Studio, established by Rose and Chris Prater in the late 1950s, was a print workshop dedicated to this comparatively modern technique and was pivotal in the development of the medium throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The Studio was particularly important in collaborative projects with Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, Richard Hamilton, R. B. Kitaj, Eduardo Paolozzi and Joe Tilson and that pushed the concept of the artist's print in innovative directions.

The prints in the Gallery's Collection include Ruins, Caulfield's first screenprint commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1964, and two prints from the portfolio 'As is When' by Paolozzi, one of the artist's many collaborations with Kelpra that epitomise the Pop print phenomena. Bobbie Rainbow by Peter Blake is a contemporary riposte to Babe Rainbow, a screenprint on tin that was produced in1968 in an edition of 10,000 and sold for £1. Pallant House Gallery commissioned this multiple in 2001 as one of a series of affordable artworks by British artists.

Key works include: 'The Beatles, 1962' (1963-68) by Peter Blake and 'Portrait of Juan Gris' (1963) by Patrick Caulfield.