Jim Dine was born in 1935 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He studied at night at the Art Academy of Cincinnati during his senior year of high school and then attended the University of Cincinnati, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Ohio University, Athens, from which he received his BFA in 1957. Dine moved to New York in 1959, and soon became a pioneer of the Happenings movement together with Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Whitman.
Dine is closely associated with the development of Pop art in the early 1960s. Frequently he affixed everyday objects, such as tools, rope, shoes, articles of clothing, and even a bathroom sink, to his canvases. Characteristically, these objects were Dine’s personal possessions. This autobiographical content was evident in Dine’s early Crash series of 1959–60 and appeared as well in subsequent recurrent themes and images, such as the palettes, hearts, and bathrobe self-portraits. He later added gates, trees, and Venus to his repertoire of recurring motifs. Dine has also made a number of three-dimensional works and environments, and is well known for his drawings and prints. He has written and illustrated several books of poetry.
In 1965, Dine was a guest lecturer at Yale University, New Haven, and artist-in-residence at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. He was a visiting critic at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, in 1966. Dine has been given solo shows in museums in Europe and the United States. In 1970, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, organized a major retrospective of his work, and in 1978 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, presented a retrospective of his etchings. Since then, Dine has been the subject of major retrospectives at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (1984–85), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (1999), and National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (2004).