DESSIN POP, Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris, 1963

Artists: Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Jim Dine, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, George Segal, Claes Oldenburg, Lee Bontecou

Opening: December 11, 1963, 6 p.m.

Dimensions: 22.2 x 10.7 cm

Further Information: Ileana Sonnabend was involved in the New York artists with her then husband Leo Castelli from 1949 until their divorce in 1959. Castelli started off as a private dealer opening his gallery mainly representing Pop artists in 1957. Remaining life-long friends, Castelli encouraged Sonnabend to open her own gallery in Paris showing artists represented by his gallery. Having set up an exclusive agreement for representation in Western Europe, in fall 1962 Ileana and her new husband Michael Sonnabend launched their gallery in the same building of the restaurant Relais Bisson, a famous spot for the Parisian intellectual and artistic scene. Originally, Sonnabend wanted to represent Pop Art as well as artists from the Nouveau Réalisme, however, Galerie J was founded by Jeannine Restany just a little bit earlier having the latter in her program. Sonnabend quickly introduced US-American artists to Europe allowing the movement to develop almost simultaneously with its original base in New York. Her first exhibition on Pop Art titled Pop art américain opened in May 1963 including works by Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Rom Wesselmann, John Chamberlain, and Lee Bontecou. The group show Dessin Pop closed the successful year. In order to establish US-American art in the European art discourse, Sonnabend invited French art critics such as Pierre Restany, Alain Jouffroy, Otto Hahn, among others, to write for the catalogues accompanying their exhibitions.

(For further information see Catherine Dossin, The Rise and The Fall of American Art 1940s-1980s: A Geopolitics of Western Art World, Ashgate Publishing, 2015).


Images: Images of the invitation and all other archival documents, apart from the videos, shown on this page are part of the online collection of Archiv der Avantgarden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

Andy WarholClaes OldenburgJim DineMichelangelo PistolettoRobert Rauschenberg

Here is a short clip showing Andy Warhol’s thoughts on Jasper Johns, both of whom were part of the exhibitions Dessins at Galerie Ileana Sonnabend.

Not only the artists presented in the show, but also the galerist herself, was very influential for the Pop Art movement. This film, produced by MoMA New York, gives a short insight into her life:

Below is an invitation to the group show Art Electric, another Pop Art exhibition at Galerie Ileana Sonnabend including Robert Rauschenberg, Dan Flavin, George Segal and Jasper Johns in 1966.

Ten Years after Dessins at Ileana Sonnabend, on May 4, 1973, at Staatliche Kunstsammlung Baden-Baden, pencils appear on another invitation card for pop art, including Barry Flanagan, Gilbert & George and David Hockney. 11 Englische Zeichner at Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, May 4, 1973.

"11 Englische Zeichner at Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 4.05.1973 (Invitation) © SKD
11 Englische Zeichner at Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 4.05.1973 (Invitation) © SKD