Often associated with the Pop art movement, Jim Dine features everyday objects and imagery in his paintings, drawings, and prints. However, unlike many Pop artists, he focuses on the autobiographical and emotive connotations of his motifs. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he worked with Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow to organize proto-performance art events known as Happenings. Soon after, drawing on childhood memories of his father's Cincinnati hardware store, Dine began making paintings incorporating real objects like hammers, C-clamps, and paintbrushes. For Dine, these objects functioned "as a vocabulary of feelings."
An accomplished printmaker, Dine has created almost nine hundred prints to date, many of which have appeared in some twenty illustrated books. Since completing his first prints in 1960 at Pratt Graphic Art Center, he has mastered a wide range of lithographic, intaglio, and woodcut techniques. Dine was among a group of artists whom Tatyana Grosman invited to her legendary printshop, Universal Limited Art Editions, in the early years. He went on to work with many other printers and publishers, including Petersburg Press, Aldo Crommelynck, and Pace Editions. During the 1970s, Dine turned to his wife for new sources of personal iconography. In Braid, with its network of finely etched lines, he transformed her disembodied braid to stand in as her symbolic representation.
An early experiment with woodcut technique, The Woodcut Bathrobe illustrates the enduring importance of the bathrobe motif in Dine's work. He first adopted this humble but self-assured motif in 1964 as a metaphor for his self-portrait, after coming across an image of a man's dressing gown in a newspaper advertisement. Dine has used the motif in over seventy printed works.
Publication excerpt from an essay by Harper Montgomery, in Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 160.