Allen Jones is a painter, sculptor and printmaker who is primarily associated with the British Pop Art movement. He was born in Southampton and studied at Hornsey College of Art, London (1955–9, 1960–61), spending 1959–60 at the Royal College of Art before being expelled for 'excessive independence'. Motivated by the theories of Jung and Nietzsche, he began in paintings such as Hermaphrodite (1963) to depict fused male/female couples as metaphors of the creative act. While living in New York (1964–5) he discovered a rich fund of imagery in sexually motivated popular illustration of the 1940s and 1950s.
The full extent of his Pop sensibility emerged in sexually provocative fibreglass sculptures such as Chair (1969), life-size images of women as furniture with fetishist and sado-masochist overtones. In the mid 1970s he returned to a more painterly conception in canvases such as Santa Monica Shores (1977) and to a playful stylisation in figure sculptures, notably The Tango (1984), a larger than life-size dancing couple made from polychrome steel plate.
This work is typical of his oil painting in the 1990s as it features the motifs of a suited man and woman entwined with a piano. The bright washes of colour bathe these nightclub scenes, creating a joyful backdrop to the hedonistic subject matter.
There have been two principle retrospectives of his work, both touring. The first was at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, 1979, followed by another at the Barbican in London in 1995. His work is well represented in the collections of the Tate and the Arts Council, and he was made a Royal Academician in 1986.