American popartist Roy Fox Lichtenstein was born October 27, 1923 . During the 1960s, along with Andy Warhol,Jasper Johns, and James Rosenquist among others, he became a leading figure in the new art movement. His work defined the basic premise of pop art better than any other through parody.Favoring the comic strip as his main inspiration, Lichtenstein produced hard-edged, precise compositions that documented while it parodied often in a tongue-in-cheek humorous manner. His work was heavily influenced by both popular advertising and the comic book style. He described pop art as, “not ‘American’ painting but actually industrial painting”.His paintings were exhibited at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City Drowning Gtrl,Whaam! and Look Mickey are regarded as his most influential works.Woman with Flowered Hat has held the record for highet Lichtenstein auction price
Lichtenstein Studied at the Ohio State University, which offered studio courses and a degree in fine arts. His studies were interrupted by a three-year stint in the army during and after World War II between 1943 and 1946. After being in training programs for languages, engineering, and pilot training, all of which were cancelled, he served as an orderly, draftsman, and artist.Lichtenstein was discharged from the army with eligibility for the G.I. Bill. He returned to studies in Ohio under the supervision of one of his teachers, Hoyt L. Sherman, who is widely regarded to have had a significant impact on his future work (Lichtenstein would later name a new studio he funded at OSU as the Hoyt L. Sherman Studio Art Center).Lichtenstein entered the graduate program at Ohio State and was hired as an art instructor. In 1949 Lichtenstein received aMaster of Fine Arts degree from the Ohio State University.In 1951 Lichtenstein had his first solo exhibition at the Carlebach Gallery in New York. He moved to Cleveland in the same year, where he remained for six years, although he frequently traveled back to New York. During this time he undertook jobs as varied as a draftsman to a window decorator in between periods of painting.His work at this time fluctuated between Cubism and Expressionism.In 1954, his first son, David Hoyt Lichtenstein, now a songwriter, was born. His second son, Mitchell Lichtenstein, was born in 1956.In 1957, he moved back to upstate New York and began teaching again It was at this time that he adopted the Abstract Expressionism style, being a late convert to this style of painting. Lichtenstein began teaching in upstate New York at the State University of New York at Oswego in 1958. About this time, he began to incorporate hidden images of cartoon characters such asMickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny into his abstract worksIn 1960, he started teaching at Rutgers University where he was heavily influenced by Allan Kaprow, who was also a teacher at the university. This environment helped reignite his interest in Proto-pop imagery. In 1961, Lichtenstein began his first pop paintings using cartoon images and techniques derived from the appearance of commercial printing. This phase would continue to 1965, and included the use of advertising imagery suggesting consumerism and homemaking. His first work to feature the large-scale use of hard-edged figures and Ben-Day dots was Look Mickey (1961, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)This piece came from a challenge from one of his sons, who pointed to a Mickey Mouse comic book and said; “I bet you can’t paint as good as that, eh, Dad?”In the same year he produced six other works with recognizable characters from gum wrappers and cartoons.In 1961, Leo Castelli started displaying Lichtenstein’s work at his gallery in New York. Lichtenstein had his first one-man show at the Castelli gallery in 1962; the entire collection was bought by influential collectors before the show even opened. A group of paintings produced between 1961-1962 focused on solitary household objects such as sneakers, hot dogs, and golf balls. September 1963 he took a leave of absence from his teaching position at Douglass College at Rutgers.
lt was at this time that Lichtenstein began to find fame not just in America but worldwide. He moved back to New York and resigned fromRutgers University in 1964 to concentrate on his painting.Lichtenstein used oil andMagna (early acrylic) paint in his best known works, such as Drowning Girl (1963), which was appropriated from the lead story in DC Comics’ Secret Hearts #83. (Drowning Girlnow hangs in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Drowning Girl also features thick outlines, bold colors and Ben-Day dots, as if created by photographic reproduction. Rather than attempt to reproduce his subjects, Lichtenstein’s work tackled the way in which the mass media portrays them. He would never take himself too seriously, however, saying: “I think my work is different from comic strips — but I wouldn’t call it transformation; I don’t think that whatever is meant by it is important to art”. When Lichtenstein’s work was first exhibited, many art critics of the time challenged its originality. His work was harshly criticized as vulgar and empty. He discussed experiencing this heavy criticism Suggesting that it was at times difficult to be criticized, His most celebrated image is arguably Whaam!, one of the earliest known examples of pop art, adapted acomic-book panel from a 1962 issue of DC Comics’ All-American Men of War The painting depicts a fighter aircraft firing a rocket into an enemy plane, with a red-and-yellow explosion. The cartoon style is heightened by the use of the onomatopoeic lettering “Whaam!” and the boxed caption “I pressed the fire control… and ahead of me rockets blazed through the sky…” Whaam follows the comic strip-based themes of some of his previous paintings and is part of a body of war-themed work created between 1962 and 1964. It is one of his two notable large war-themed paintings. .Lichtenstein began experimenting with sculpture around 1964, demonstrating a knack for the form that was at odds with the insistent flatness of his paintings. For Head of Girl (1964), and Head with Red Shadow (1965), he collaborated with a ceramicist who sculpted the form of the head out of clay. Lichtenstein then applied a glaze to create the same sort of graphic motifs that he used in his paintings; the application of black lines and Ben-Day dots to three-dimensional objects resulted in a flattening of the form
Most of Lichtenstein’s best-known works are relatively close, but not exact, copies of comic book panels, a subject he largely abandoned in 1965, though he would occasionally incorporate comics into his work in different ways in later decades. These panels were originally drawn by such comics artists as Jack Kirby and DC Comics artists Russ Heath, Tony Abruzzo, Irv Novick, and Jerry Grandenetti, who rarely received any credit. some have been critical of Lichtenstein’s use of comic-book imagery and art pieces that their use has been seen as endorsement of a patronizing view of comics by the art mainstream. Lichtenstein’s works based on enlarged panels from comic books engendered a widespread debate about their merits .In the early 1960s, Lichtenstein reproduced masterpieces by Cézanne, Mondrian and Picasso before embarking on the Brushstroke series in 1965. Lichtenstein continued to revisit this theme later in his career with works such asBedroom at Arles that derived from Vincent van Gogh’sBedroom in Arles.
ln 1970, Lichtenstein was commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (within its Art and Technology program ) to make a film. With the help of Universal Film Studios, the artist conceived of, and produced, Three Landscapes, a film of marine landscapes, directly related to a series of collages with landscape themes he created between 1964 and 1966.Although Lichtenstein had planned on producing 15 short films, the three-screen installation turned out to be the artist’s only venture into the medium. in 1970, Lichtenstein purchased a former carriage house in Southampton, Long Island, built a studio on the property, In the 1970s and 1980s, his style began to loosen and he expanded on what he had done before. Lichtenstein began a series of Mirrors paintings in 1969. By 1970, while continuing on the Mirrors series, he started work on the subject of entablatures. The Entablatures consisted of a first series of paintings from 1971–72, followed by a second series in 1974-76, and the publication of a series of relief prints in 1976. He produced a series of “Artists Studios” which incorporated elements of his previous work. A notable example being Artist’s Studio, Look Mickey (1973, Walker Art Center,Minneapolis) which incorporates five other previous works, fitted into the scene.
During a trip to Los Angeles in 1978, Lichtenstein was fascinated by lawyer Robert Rifkind’s collection of German Expressionistprints and illustrated books. He began to produce works that borrowed stylistic elements found in Expressionist paintings. The White Tree (1980) evokes lyric Der Blaue Reiter landscapes, while Dr. Waldmann (1980) recalls Otto Dix’s Dr. Mayer-Hermann(1926). Also in the late 1970s, Lichtenstein’s style was replaced with more surreal works such as Pow Wow. A major series of Surrealist-Pop paintings from 1979–81 is based on Native American themes. These works range from Amerind Figure (1981), a stylized life-size sculpture reminiscent of a streamlined totem pole in black-patinated bronze, to the monumental wool tapestry Amerind Landscape (1979). The “Indian” works took their themes, like the other parts of the Surrealist series, from contemporary art and other sources, including books on American Indian design from Lichtenstein’s small library.
Lichtenstein’s Still Life paintings, sculptures and drawings, which span from 1972 through the early 1980s, cover a variety of motifs and themes, including fruit, flowers, and vases.Interiors (1991–1992) is a series of works depicting banal domestic environments inspired by furniture ads the artist found in telephone books or on billboards. Having garnered inspiration from the monochromatic prints of Edgar Degas featured in a 1994 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the motifs of his Landscapes in the Chinese Style series are formed with simulated Benday dots and block contours, rendered in hard, vivid color, with all traces of the hand removed. The nude is a recurring element in Lichtenstein’s work of the 1990s, such as in Collage for Nude with Red Shirt (1995).In addition to paintings and sculptures, Lichtenstein also made over 300 prints, mostly in screenprintingIn 1969, Lichtenstein was commissioned by Gunter Sachs to create Composition and Leda and the Swan, for the collector’s Pop Art bedroom suite at the Palace Hotel in St. Moritz. In the late 1970s and during the 1980s, Lichtenstein received major commissions for works in public places: the sculptures Lamp (1978) in St. Mary’s, Georgia; Mermaid (1979) in Miami Beach; the 26 feet tallBrushstrokes in Flight (1984, moved in 1998) at Port Columbus International Airport; the five-storey high Mural with Blue Brushstroke (1984–85) at the Equitable Center, New York; and El Cap de Barcelona (1992) in Barcelona. In 1994, LIn ‘ Inchtenstein created the 53-foot-long, enamel-on-metal Times Square Mural that now hovers over pedestrians in the Times Square subway station. In 1977, he was commissioned by BMW to paint a Group 5 Racing Version of the BMW 320i for the third installment in the BMW Art Car Project. The DreamWorks Records logo was his last completed project.
Lichtenstein sadly died of pneumonia in 1997 at New York University Medical Center, where he had been hospitalized for several weeks. He was survived by his second wife, Dorothy Herzka, and by his sons, David and Mitchell, from his first marriage.After the artist’s death in 1997, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation was established in 1999. In 2011, the foundation’s board decided the benefits of authenticating did not outweigh the risks of protracted lawsuitsIn late 2006, the foundation sent out a holiday card featuring a picture of Electric Cord (1961), a painting that had been missing since 1970 after being sent out to art restorer Daniel Goldreyer by the Leo Castelli Gallery. The card urged the public to report any information about its whereabouts. In 2012, the foundation authenticated the piece when it surfaced at a New York City warehous