Biography of Allen Jones
Few artists have courted controversy to quite the same extent as Pop art pioneer Allen Jones. The British artist has created many iconic art works and remains a controversial figure with a huge international presence.
Born in 1937, Allen Jones had humble beginnings as a son of a Welsh factory worker. He grew up in Ealing, then a poor of borough of London. First attending the Hornsey College of Art in 1959, he then moved on to the Royal College of Art in 1960 but was expelled at the end of his first year. Looking to make an example of one of their more radical students—which included David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj—the tutors picked on Jones. Utterly despondent he returned to the Hornsey College of Art to complete his studies.
Influenced by American Pop art, Allen Jones’ paintings of London buses caused a stir and in 1963 he won the Prix des Jeunes Artistes at the Paris Biennale. From the 60s onwards his reputation grew quickly and drawing inspiration from the human figure, his works were imbued with a provocative eroticism designed to ignite the viewer’s emotional response. Perhaps most startling and contentious of all are his fiberglass sculptures of women as furniture. However, painting and lithography remains his main focus, and the subject matter of his work is, according to Jones, “an attempt to make a personification of the human condition.”
An accomplished painter, printmaker, sculptor, Allen Jones was even asked to design the furniture for Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, but he refused when he learnt there was no fee. He has however, worked on costumes and stage designs for numerous television and theatre shows.
Allen Jones has taken on numerous prestigious teaching posts including the Chelsea School of Art in London and the Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin. In 1978 he had a retrospective of his drawings and watercolors at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. Another retrospective was held at the Royal Academy in London in 2013 where he is now a Senior Academician. His work has toured all around the world including at the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in Milan, Italy, in 1998 and at the Kunsthalle Tübingen in 2012. His work is featured in many major collections including two works in Museum Ludwig’s permanent collection.