Pop Art Prints

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Roy Lichtenstein, Sweet Dreams, Baby!, from the portfolio, 11 Pop Artists, Volume III, 1965, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Philip Morris Incorporated © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

In the 1950s and 1960s, pop art offered a stark contrast to abstract expressionism, then the dominant movement in American art. The distinction between high art and popular culture was assumed until artists like Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and others of their generation challenged a whole range of assumptions about what fine art should be. When pop art emerged on the art scene, it was eagerly embraced by an enthusiastic audience. The artists became celebrities and demand for their work was high. One reason they turned to prints was to satisfy this demand. They favored commercial techniques such as screenprinting and lithography with which they could produce bright colors and impersonal, flat surfaces. As editioned multiples, prints were more widely available and affordable than unique works of art, and pop art imagery was readily reproduced in the popular press.


Pop Art Prints presents a selection of thirty-seven prints from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection. The installation includes works from primarily the 1960s by Allan D’Arcangelo, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Mel Ramos, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann. The installation is part of a series that highlights objects from the museum’s collection that are rarely on public view. The prints on display were selected by Joann Moser, deputy chief curator.

Visiting Information

March 20, 2014 August 30, 2014
Open Daily, 11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m
Free Admission

Tour Schedule

Robert Hull Fleming Museum
Burlington, VT
February 2, 2016 May 22, 2016
Mennello Museum of American Art
Orlando, FL
June 10, 2016 September 11, 2016
Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami
Miami, FL
September 28, 2017 December 17, 2017


Pop Art Prints is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.


Allan D’Arcangelo
born Buffalo, NY 1930-died New York City 1998
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Jim Dine
born Cincinnati, OH 1935

Jim Dine studied at the University of Cincinnati and the Boston Museum School, earning a BFA at Ohio University in 1957.

Robert Indiana
born New Castle, IN 1928-died Vinalhaven, ME 2018
Robert Indiana was orphaned at birth and adopted as an infant by Earl and Carmen Clark. His childhood was tumultuous, as his family moved twenty-one times before his parents divorced when he was a teenager.
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Jasper Johns
born Augusta, GA 1930
Roy Lichtenstein
born New York City 1923-died New York City 1997

Born in New York City, Roy Lichtenstein attended the Art Students League, where he studied with the painter Reginald Marsh. He then attended the School of Fine Arts at Ohio State University, earning his B.F.A.

Claes Oldenburg
born Stockholm, Sweden 1929-died New York City 2022
Mel Ramos
born Sacramento, CA 1935-died Oakland, CA 2018
Robert Rauschenberg
born Port Arthur, TX 1925-died Captiva Island, FL 2008

Born in Texas, lives and works in New York City and elsewhere.

James Rosenquist
born Grand Forks, ND 1933-died New York City 2017
Andy Warhol
born Pittsburgh, PA 1928-died New York City 1987
Tom Wesselmann
born Cincinnati, OH 1931-died New York City 2004