Lot-Details 1210747746265
A painting of Green Lantern pop artist Mel Ramos (a cohort of Lichtentein, Warhol, Rosenquist, etc.) sold for $600,000 this week.

Chew on that, Warner Brothers.

Via The Ephemerist which incorrectly reports the price.


  1. Something like this by a “name” artist goes for hundreds of thousands, while original art by Gil Kane probably just goes for hundreds of dollars. It’s like we live in a bizarro world.

  2. What’s really frustrating about this is that it’s clearly a swipe of Gil Kane artwork. Lichtenstein and his cohorts ripped off (copied/traced/swiped) great comic book artists, who were still working at the time, and passed it off as original artwork. This actually makes me quite angry. Gil Kane’s family should get a cut of this $600k.

  3. Hmm… how much hard work and salesmanship made Mel Ramos (who is new to me) a “name”? How much do Alex Ross’ paintings sell for? And let’s not forget the most famous magazine cover artist, Norman Rockwell. And probably the most sought after comicbook artist in the world, Carl Barks (who painted an extremely lucrative series of the Ducks).

    And can anyone tell me what Warhol’s Superman and Donald Duck paintings are worth? Or Mark Kostabi’s Bazooka Joe painting?

    (And I’d be surprised if any Gil Kane artwork from the same time period sells for anything less than a thousand dollars. But it’s a different market, different medium, and the supply is greater.)

  4. Maybe, Mel Ramos’ painting falls under the laws of parody, since his ring of power is on his wedding finger, instead of his index. Of course, I wouldn’t know if that’s where it’s supposed to be, in the time period when it was painted. Maybe it used to be there.

  5. One of my art professors–he was from the Abstract Expressionist school–once remarked,” Andy Warhol is not an artist…he’s a social phenomenon.”

    And as much as I love some of the goofiness and satire of the pop artists, if that is the actual Green Lantern painting, it looks amateurish at best.

    600K? Man!

  6. $600K might seem crazy, but I’ll bet we see prices at auction like that on covers or splash pages in our lifetimes. There are contemporary comic book artists who are already selling covers and pages for more than what contemporary “fine” artists are selling their work for in commercial galleries. Given that a gallery will take a minimum 50% commission, fine artists would envious of what some comic book artists are getting for their work.

  7. I have an original Mart Nodell drawing where he’s got the o.g. G.L. talking to a Superman that looks like Ronald Reagan. $500K, anyone?

  8. Go Mel!

    Mel Ramos is a lovely fellow and a long-time comics fan. He’s an excellent painter and was my painting instructor in college many years ago. I haven’t seen him since the 80’s, but I’m glad to hear he’s doing well.

  9. Won’t Time Warner object to this unauthorized use of their character to make money? The cancer benefit auction they shut down wouldn’t have raised anything like this kind of money.

  10. Pop art as a movement questioned High and Low art, mass culture, originality and copyright. Naturally that triggered a lot of discussion (and some legal action), which became a social phenomena, which led to it being embedded in history, which is what this buyer wants a piece of. He’s not buying it because it’s a picture of the Green Lantern.

  11. I should say *just* because it’s a picture of the Green Lantern. The buyer is, I assume, also interested in the piece for its content. But Ramos didn’t just paint a picture of the Green Lantern, nor did he just make a mistake with the ring.

    I’m not saying it’s a valid justification for the price or the lifting of the imagery, but it’s not as simply stupid as it might appear.

  12. Well, This Ramos is impressed. (No relation as far as I know.) I’ll have a drawing of Green Lantern at this year Wizard World Philly, for sale so who know? HEHEHEHE.

    Wilson Ramos Jr.

  13. The minor change of having the ring on the wrong finger would not allow one to claim fair use on this painting. It is the Hal Jordan Green Lantern.

    If we are to praise this as a work of masterpiece, then should we not also be praising Greg Land?

  14. This from Wikipedia on Ramos:
    Though primarily a figurative painter, Mel Ramos (Born July 24, 1935) has experimented freely with realist and abstract art forms for the past twenty years. A few of his works embody both formats. This combination works to enhance the detail and feature of each format while detracting from the duality of the image making it wholly singular. Born in Sacramento, California in 1935 he has enjoyed great success and critical acclaim as an adventuresome artist with the creativity and sense of humor it takes to remain on top.
    Ramos is one of the artists in the Pop Art movement. Mel Ramos received his first important recognition in the early 1960s; since 1959 he has participated in more than 120 group shows. Along with other artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and James Rosenquist, Ramos produced art works that celebrated aspects of popular culture as represented in mass media. His paintings were shown along with theirs in major exhibitions of Pop Art both in this country and in Europe and were reproduced, often with irony, in books, catalogs, and periodicals throughout the world.
    Classification of Ramos within a school of art is disputed. Some critical observers of the “art scene” classify Mel Ramos as a Pop Artist. However, others believe identification of Ramos’ work within the Pop movement of the 1960s implies a satirical or parodic bent which does not reflect the broader context of his paintings, and instead defend his “parodies” as respectful, affectionate tributes, a celebration of images with personal meaning.
    Ramos has been represented by Louis K. Meisel Gallery since 1971.

    From the prestigious Tate Gallery,…somewhere in Britain:
    As a term in art history and criticism refers to the more or less direct taking over into a work of art of a real object or even an existing work of art. The practice can be tracked back to the Cubist collages and constructions of Picasso and Georges Braque made from 1912 on, in which real objects such as newspapers were included to represent themselves. Appropriation was developed much further in the readymades created by the French artist Marcel Duchamp from 1915. Most notorious of these was Fountain, a men’s urinal signed, titled, and presented on a pedestal. Later, Surrealism also made extensive use of appropriation in collages and objects such as Salvador Dali’s Lobster Telephone. In the late 1950s appropriated images and objects appear extensively in the work of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, and in Pop art. However, the term seems to have come into use specifically in relation to certain American artists in the 1980s, notably Sherrie Levine and the artists of the Neo-Geo group particularly Jeff Koons. Sherrie Levine reproduced as her own work other works of art, including paintings by Claude Monet and Kasimir Malevich. Her aim was to create a new situation, and therefore a new meaning or set of meanings, for a familiar image. Appropriation art raises questions of originality, authenticity and authorship, and belongs to the long modernist tradition of art that questions the nature or definition of art itself. Appropriation artists were influenced by the 1934 essay by the German philosopher Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, and received contemporary support from the American critic Rosalind Strauss in her 1985 book The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths. Appropriation has been used extensively by artists since the 1980s.”

  15. Well, Ramos sure did paint a lot of busty, naked ladies on cigars:


    But he also did a neat Spectre. And an AMAZING PLUMP Wonder Woman.

    The thing about pop art is that it is conceptual art, really, and to judge in terms of drawn or painted artwork is like judging a painting in terms of, say, film – it’s two different things. Whether you like it or not. Conceptual art is not about whether the drawn image is original – and I would point out that by that qualification, collage art must not be an allowable form either.

    The reason Ramos gets that much money and Gil Kane doesn’t is obvious – it has to do with the audience they play to. If Gil Kane wanted to show his comics in a gallery and frame them in such a way that there was loads of subtext for the gallery visitors to read into it, he could’ve done this too. You can’t get down on opportunists for recognizing opportunity.

    Anyhow, I like some pop art and abstract expression, but Ramos doesn’t impress me much. Of the work I went and looked at, I only liked his comic book derivations.

  16. Let’s remember that the price range of ‘fine art’ is based on investment value. Nobody at this level is buying fine art because it’s well painted, or because it looks nice, but only as an investment. The problem with comic artists is that we are not seen as fine artists (at least by the galleries and professional art critics who are creating the market), so not a chance for us to sell anything at that level.
    It’s like two worlds that have nothing in common, except the fact that one is marginally feeding from the other.

  17. Even we have the same name we are not related, I do like and admire Mel’s art from a long time. Truly this is not the best paint and the ring mistake is a fact. As for the $600k, go Mel, keep doing money, you deserve it from all your career hard work.
    As for the buyer, not the best investment man!, what would be your resale when you decide to sell it?.