Roy Lichtenstein

American pop artist Roy Fox Lichtenstein was born October 27, 1923 . During the 1960s he became a leading exponent of Pop Art along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and James Rosenquist. 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 popular advertising and the comic book style.His paintings were exhibited at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City and Drowning Girl ,Whaam! and Look Mickey are regarded as his most influential works and The painting “Woman with Flowered Hat” holds the record for highest Lichtenstein auction price.

Lichtenstein Studied at the Ohio State University. However His studies were interrupted by a three-year stint in the army between 1943 and 1946 where he trained in languages, engineering, and pilot training, Before serving as an orderly, draftsman, and artist. Lichtenstein was discharged from the army with eligibility for the G.I. Bill and returned to Ohio State University, Where he studied under Hoyt L. Sherman. After graduating from Ohio State he was hired as an art instructor and received a Master of Fine Arts degree. In 1951 Lichtenstein had his first solo exhibition at the Carlebach Gallery in New York an moved to Cleveland commuting frequently to New York. In between painting he undertook jobs as varied as a draftsman to a window decorator. His work fluctuating 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, Lichtenstein moved to New York and in 1958 he began teaching at the State University of New York in Oswego, adopting the Abstract Expressionism style and incorporating hidden images of cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny into his abstract works. In 1960, he started teaching at Rutgers University, where he was influenced by fellow teacher Allan Kaprow. In 1961, Lichtenstein began his first pop paintings using cartoon images and techniques derived from the appearance of commercial printing. His first work to feature the large-scale use of hard-edged figures and Ben-Day dots was Look Mickey, and he produced six other paintings that year, Leo Castelli also started displaying Lichtenstein’s work at his gallery in New York And Lchtenstein had his first one-man show at the Castelli gallery in 1962; The entire collection being 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 and in September 1963 he took a leave of absence from his teaching position at Douglass College at Rutgers. Lichtenstein began to find worldwide fame and moved back to New York where he resigned fromRutgers University in 1964 to concentrate on his painting.

On of Lichtenstein best known works, drowning Girl (1963), was appropriated from the lead story in DC Comics’ Secret Hearts #83. And features thick outlines, bold colors and Ben-Day dots, as if created by photographic reproduction.Lichtenstein’s work was reproduced the way the mass media portrays them. He would never take himself too seriously unlike many Art Critics who challenged his paintings originality and criticized them as vulgar and empty. Another of Lichtenstein’s most celebrated image is 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. Around 1964 Lichtenstein began experimenting with sculpture, producing Head of Girl (1964), and Head with Red Shadow (1965), collaborating with a ceramicist 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 resulting 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.

Although he would still occasionally incorporate comics panels originally drawn by such comics artists as Jack Kirby and DC Comics artists Russ Heath, Tony Abruzzo, Irv Novick, and Jerry Grandenetti into his work, without giving credit. This also attracted more criticism from those who Saw Lichtenstein’s use of comic-book imagery and art pieces as endorsement of a patronizing view of comics by the art mainstream and 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’s Bedroom in Arles.

ln 1970, Lichtenstein was commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to make a film. With the help of Universal Film Studios, and he produced, Three Landscapes, a film of marine landscapes, directly related to a series of collages with landscape themes he created between 1964 and 1966. Lichtenstein originally planned on producing 15 short films, however the three-screen installation turned out to be the artist’s only film. In 1970, Lichtenstein purchased a former carriage house in Southampton, Long Island, built a studio on the property, Lichtenstein then began a series of Mirrors paintings in 1969. By 1970, while continuing on the Mirrors series, he started work on the subject of entablatures which 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, which incorporates five other previous works, fitted into the scene.

During a trip to Los Angeles in 1978, Lichtenstein became fascinated by lawyer Robert Rifkind’s collection of German Expressionist prints and illustrated books And began to produce works that borrowed stylistic elements found in Expressionist paintings such as The White Tree (1980) And Dr. Waldmann (1980) Lichtenstein also painted more surreal works such as Pow Wow. A major series of Surrealist-Pop paintings from 1979–81 is based on Native American themes Such as Amerind Figure (1981), and Amerind Landscape (1979). These 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 cover a variety of motifs and themes, including fruit, flowers, and vases and Interiors. He was also inspired by the monochromatic prints of Edgar Degas featured in a 1994 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, using Ben Day dots and hard edged Block colours. The nude is a recurring element in Lichtenstein’s work of the 1990s, such as in Collage for Nude with Red Shirt. Lichtenstein also made over 300 prints, mostly in screen printing and in 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. During the 1980s, Lichtenstein received major commissions for works in public places: such as the sculptures Lamp, Mermaid, Brushstrokes in Flight andthe five-storey high Mural with Blue Brushstroke at the Equitable Center, New York; and El Cap de Barcelona. In 1994, Lichtenstein 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 instalment in the BMW Art Car .

Sadly Though Lichtenstein died of pneumonia in 1997 at New York University Medical Centre, where he had been hospitalised 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 lawsuits and In 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, luckily it was subsequently found in 2012 in a New York City warehouse.

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