Roy Lichtenstein, Visual Artist (pop art) (American, 1923–1997)

Roy Lichtenstein, Visual Artist (pop art) (American, 1923–1997)

Roy Lichtenstein was an American pop artist widely acclaimed for his painting and prints which captioned commercial imagery and culture icons like Mickey Mouse and comics and advertisements icons. He was a prominent figure among Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, and Jasper Johns in the new art movement. Inspired by the comic series through parody his work defines the base of pop art. Lichtenstein artwork mirrored the mechanical technique on a larger scale.

Roy Fox Lichtenstein was born on October 27, 1923, in New York. He studied at public school and graduated from New York’s Dwight School in 1940. Initially interested in design and art as a hobby, and being a passionate jazz fan use to draw portraits of musicians playing their instruments while attending concerts at Apollo Theater, Roy got a chance to learn from European contemporary artists while deputed to France and he returned and continued his studies at Ohio under the direction of Hoyt L. Sherman whose teaching has a significant impact of his future work and he earned Master of Fine Arts degree.

Roy Lichtenstein first solo exhibition was in Carlebach Gallery in New York in 1951. During a six-year stay in Cleveland, he undertook multiple different jobs as a draftsman to a window decorator where his work swings between expressionism and Cubism. In 1957 he travelled back to New York and begins to unite hidden images of multiple cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. His work was inclined by comic book style and popular advertising.

Drowning Girl Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–1997) 1963. Oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 67 5/8 x 66 3/4" (171.6 x 169.5 cm)
Drowning Girl Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–1997) 1963. Oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 67 5/8 x 66 3/4″ (171.6 x 169.5 cm)

Lichtenstein proto-pop imagery got massive interest due to the influence of Allan Kaprow while he was teaching at Rutgers University. In 1961 emergence of mass media techniques drove him to start pop painting using cartoon images. Featuring large scale use of Ben-Day dots, he created Look Mickey which was a bridge between expressionism and artwork which was challenged by his son bet to produce better one. Same year Leo Castelli an Italian American art dealer start displaying Lichtenstein work at Castelli Gallery. He produced multiple paintings centred solitary-household items including golf balsa, hot dogs, and sneakers.


Concentrate on painting to find fame and accreditation worldwide. Roy Lichtenstein paintings got a major breakthrough with “Drowning Girl” inspired from the lead story from Dc Comics, using oil and Magna to paint one of his best productions. His production “Drowning Girl” featured think outline and bold colour as if created as a photographic reproduction. Explaining abstract expressionism as, drawing things on canvas responding to what had been done to the colour position and size. Furthermore defining his style as to be completely different but the nature of the work is the same and not specific as other artists such as Pollock or Kline.

Roy Lichtenstein artwork of Whaam! Was the most celebrated image of pop art, reformed from the comic book drawn by Irv Novick? The painting portrays a fighter plane firing a rocket into the enemy plane with cartoonist style of onomatopoeic lettering style of Whaam with a red and yellow explosion.

Whaam! 1963 MEDIUM Acrylic paint and oil paint on canvas DIMENSIONS Support: 1727 x 4064 mm frame: 1747 x 4084 x 60 mm COLLECTION Tate

In 1964 he resigned for the Rutgers University and start experimenting with sculptures, exhibits a capability to portray what misfits with the demanding smoothness of his painting. He collaborated with a ceramicist who moulded form of head out of clay. Application of ben-dot and black lines to a three-dimensional object resulted in the production of similar type of motifs that he uses to draw in his paintings such as “Head of Girl”, “Head with Red Shadow” and “brushstrokes Series”.

During that decade his paintings worth mentioning are Torpedo… Los, Happy Tears, In the car, Sleeping girl, Nurse, Woman with Flowered Hat, Kiss II, and Big Painting No 6.

In 1970 he was commissioned by the County Museum of Art Los Angeles in a technology program to make a film. Lichtenstein Three Landscape was a film created out of his college series it turns to be the only creature he had while planned to produce multiple short films. He begins a series of mirror painting subjects entablatures.

Lichtenstein’s sculpture, drawing and still life panting cover a variety of themes and visualization. His sculptural work in public places got major commission includes Mermaid, Brushstrokes in Flight. Mural with blue brushstroke and el cap de Barcelona including 53 feet long time square mural. He died of Pneumonia in 1997 and is work is held in the collection of Tate Modern in London, The Museum of Modern Art New York and Art Institute Chicago.


Roy Lichtenstein Interview


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