Jim Dine emerged as a pioneer of New York’s Happenings of the 1960s, his practice later crossed into art movements including Neo-Dada, Pop, and Neo-Expressionism, though he did not identify himself with any specific movement.
Jim Dine's works featured everyday objects and imagery in his paintings, drawings, and prints. However, unlike many Pop artists, Dine focused 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 early experiment with woodcut technique, The Yellow Belt, 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, which he drew inspiration from because he thought it looked like him. For nearly 50 years, Dine continued to develop the image of the floating bathrobe by experimenting with different colours, textures, and techniques, often giving the work cheeky titles. Dine used the motif in over seventy printed works.
Dine's work regularly sells for six figures on the secondary market and belongs in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Centre Pompidou, the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and many more.