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Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein

(1923 - 1997)
Born: New York, New York
Style: Pop Art
Famous Works:
  • Blam! (1962)
  • Drowning Girl (1963)
  • Kiss V (1964)
Roy Lichtenstein was raised in New York City, and expressed an early interest in art and music. Lichtenstein studied painting at the Art Students League in New York, later enrolling at Ohio State University where he studied several disciplines, including literature, design, and history. Lichtenstein's studies were delayed when he was called to serve in the Army in 1943, but he returned to OSU to complete his Fine Arts degree and later work as an art instructor. By this point in his life, Lichtenstein had experimented with Social Realism, portraiture, sculpture, and more. By the late 1950's, Lichtenstein was working primarily in the Abstract Expressionist style, but introducing elements that were fundamentally in conflict with the style, such as figures and popular cartoon characters. By the 1960s his paintings had developed into the Pop art style for which he is best known. He used images from the media, reproducing cells from well known comic strips on a large scale. He did not always lay the paint onto the surface in a conventional manner. Instead he imitated the method of printing from the comics, painting the dots, called Ben Day dots, in primary colors. This change was rewarded when his one-man show at the Leo Castelli Gallery was hugely popular, and the artist was able to devote himself solely to painting. Usually part of his compositions were catchy phrases, sometimes even just one word. His painting, Blam!, used the imagery of a fighter plane bursting into a ball of fire, and the pilot abandoning the craft mid-flight. The moment of impact is felt powerfully, despite its kitsch overtones. The iconic, comic book inspired works for which Roy Lichtenstein is best known did not represent an end to his development, and he lived to incorporate many styles into his art, such as Cubism, Geometric Abstraction, and Surrealism. Lichtenstein achieved significant acclaim, and, along with the other Pop artists, raised many questions about art in the modern world.
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