Born in Southampton, England in 1937, Allen Jones RA is a British pop artist best known for his figurative paintings, sculptures, and lithography. He studied at the Hornsey College of Art (1955-59 and 1960-61) and at the Royal College of Art (1959-60). At the latter, he became associated with the group of students around Peter Blake, R.B.Kitaj, David Hockney and Peter Phillips who were in opposition to abstract painting and who drew inspiration from popular culture, magazines, advertising and music. Though Jones was expelled from the school after only one year due to his signature erotic aesthetic, he went on to be included in the seminal 1961 Young Contemporaries exhibition, credited by the British Press with launching the English Pop Art movement.
Jones is best known for his typically erotic aesthetic; his sexually suggestive sculptures, paintings and prints incorporate human form, especially that of the female figure. His work is thus also characterized by its interest in traditional male and female power dynamics, alternating between celebrating and satirizing fetishes and BDSM practices. Jones was also awarded the Prix des Jeunes Artistes at the 1963 Paris Biennale, though his works naturally encountered much controversy from the growing second-wave feminist movement at that time, provoking misplaced accusations of misogyny. His sexually charged early works, with their provocative eroticism, have, over the years, given way to more stylised, lyrical compositions often involving elements of performance such as fashion shows, dancing and cabaret. As a printmaker, working mostly in lithograph and screenprint, the later 1960’s saw Jones exploring novel techniques of relief printmaking and he has since built up an impressive body of work; the first retrospective of his graphic work was held at the Barbican Art Gallery, London in 1995.
Allen Jones is a Senior Academician at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and from 1990 - 99 he was a trustee of the British Museum, London, Jones teaches at the Royal College of Art, where a large retrospective of his work was staged in 2015. He has also undertaken various guest teaching posts at the universities of California, Florida, Banff (Canada) and Berlin. Jones has also held innumerable solo exhibitions in museums and galleries across Europe, the USA, Japan, Australia and Latin America. In 1979 a touring retrospective opened at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and toured to Serpentine Gallery, London; Sunderland Museum and Art Gallery; Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden and Kunsthalle, Bielefeld. He also had a notable retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1978), and dedicated rooms at Tate Britain and the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2007), followed by a full retrospective at the latter (2014). His work is also held by numerous museum collections including the British Museum, London; Tate, London; National Portrait Gallery, London; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Chicago Museum of Art; Fogg Art Museum, Massachusetts; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Vancouver Art Gallery and Nagaoka Museum, Japan. He lives and works in London.