Roy Lichtenstein

Artwork

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Roy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein is an American pop artist who shared prominence with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and other notable artists of the late 1960s. His paintings use tongue-and-cheek humor and a distinctive comic-book inspired style to bring attention to social issues. Born in New York City, Lichtenstein began taking art classes as a senior in high school. He pursued a degree in fine arts at Ohio State University, which was interrupted when he spent time in the army during World War II. After returning and finishing both bachelor's and master's degrees, he traveled between New York and Cleveland while showing his paintings, which experimented with abstraction, cubism, and expressionism. In 1961, Lichtenstein began exploring the style that would make him famous. By borrowing themes and images from commercial printing and comic books, specifically imagery that focused on the role of women in society, he began producing meaningful work that also appealed to the masses. Using oil and acrylic paint, Lichtenstein made his work look more like photographic reproductions than fine art. His most famous image, Wham!!, is borrowed from the pages of a DC Comics selection and serves as a commentary on the military-industrial complex. Another famous work, Drowning Girl, also derives from a comic and features a girl who is unwilling to call her boyfriend for help as she sinks under the waves. Lichtenstein received many awards for his innovative work, including a National Medal of the Arts in 1995. He passed away in 1997. Early in his career, Roy Lichtenstein appropriated the aesthetics of American popular culture making him integral to the development of Pop art. A student of the work of Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Paul Klee, Lichtenstein incorporated elements of contemporary art theory and popular print media into his painting. In 1961 as both a commentary on American popular culture and a reaction to the recent success of Abstract Expressionist painting, Lichtenstein took his imagery directly from comic books and advertising. Rather than emphasize his painting process and his own inner, emotional life in his art, he mimicked borrowed sources right down to an impersonal-looking stencil process that imitated the mechanical printing used for commercial art. By mimicking this industrial method and utilizing images from high and low culture, his work realized a broader accessibility that had not yet been achieved in contemporary art. Some of his most recognizable series evolved from imagery drawn from popular culture: advertising images, war-time comics, and pin-up portraits, as well as traditional painting genres such as landscapes, still lifes, and interiors. Roy Lichtenstein was born in 1923 in New York, where he died in 1997. He studied at Ohio State, Parsons School of Design and took classes at the Art Students League. His work has been exhibited extensively worldwide. Recent retrospective surveys include “All About Art,” Louisiana Museum, Humelbaek (2003, traveled to Hayward Gallery, London; Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through 2005); “Classic of the New,” Kunsthaus Bregenz (2005); and “Roy Lichtenstein: Meditations on Art,” Museo Triennale, Milan (2010, traveled to Museum Ludwig Cologne). “Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective” opened at the Art Institute of Chicago in May of 2012 and traveled to National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and Tate Modern, London.
Artist