Roy Lichtenstein was born in New York in 1923. Next to Andy Warhol, he is considered to be the great artist of the Pop Art movement. The use of familiar subjects like comic strips, bank notes and advertising themes makes the art of Lichtenstein’s work easily accessible and quintessentially “Pop.”
Lichtenstein began his art studies in 1939 at the Art Students League, New York, under urban scene painter Reginald Marsh. He continued at Ohio State University, where he was introduced to European Modernism and the works of Picasso, Klee and Kandinsky. Lichtenstein’s studies were interrupted by military service, but after the war he returned to Ohio State and completed a Masters in Fine Art degree in 1949.
As a central figure in the Pop Art movement of the 1960s, Lichtenstein sought an anonymous style, removing all personal reference from his work to convey the appearance of mass production. Borrowed imagery from the pages of magazine advertisements and newspaper comic strips became the focus of his compositions. In discussing his work, Lichtenstein once said: “All my art is in some way about other art, even if the other art is cartoons.”
Working with stencils, Lichtenstein developed a technique using rows of dots that mimicked the commercial printing patterns used in the production of comic books. This resemblance was further emphasized by his selection of a palette of bright primary colors that replicated the chromatic range of comic books. Lichtenstein’s unconventional paintings, regarded by many as beyond the bounds of fine art during the 1960s, are now considered icons of the Pop Art movement and have secured the artist’s place in art history. Lichtenstein retrospectives have been held at the Tate Gallery in London, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Throughout his career, Lichtenstein created several large scale sculptures commissioned for public spaces, most notably “Mermaid” in Miami Beach. He also produced a number of prints for which he used different techniques: lithographs, screenprints, etchings and woodcuts. The artist would often combine multiple techniques in one print.
Roy Lichtenstein passed away in New York City in 1997.