Who Was Roy Lichtenstein: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Roy Lichtenstein.

  • Roy Lichtenstein was one of the leaders of the pop art movement. His work, inspired by comic strip art and advertising imagery, were often humorous, designed to express the subject matter in a tongue-in-check way.

  • Roy Fox Lichtenstein was born in New York City on 27th October 1923. His father was involved in real estate.
  • When he was young, Roy Lichtenstein would often draw portraits of jazz musicians playing on stage.
  • In 1939, he attended the Art Students League of New York, and took some art classes taught by Reginald Marsh, an American painter.
  • He then went on to study at Ohio State University, but he had to leave due to World War 2.
  • Between 1943 and 1946 Lichtenstein served as a military artist, draughtsman and orderly.
  • After the conclusion of World War 2, Roy completed his studies at Ohio. He remained at the university for another ten years, working as an art instructor.
  • His first solo exhibition was in New York in 1951.
  • His work during the 1950s was influenced by Cubism, Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism.
  • In the late 1950s, Roy Lichtenstein started to add hidden images (Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny for example)  to his work.
  • In 1961, Roy Lichtenstein started to produce his first pop art paintings. Look Mickey feature the images of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
  • In 1961 and 1962, Lichtenstein produced images of household objects, such as: golf balls, running shoes and hot dogs.
  • Other Roy Lichtenstein comic strip works include: Drowning Girl (based on an image from DC Comics), and Whaam!. These pieces of art are often criticised for being merely copies of comic book art, but Roy Lichtenstein argued that he took a small image and altered the scale, colour and context, making it possible for people to view the artwork it in a gallery and view it from a different perspective.
  • In the late 1960s, Roy Lichtenstein began his Modern Painting and Modern Sculpture. He also reproduced famous works by Vincent van Gogh, Mondrian, Cezanne and Picasso in a geometric, comic book style.
  • He took numerous commissions during his lifetime, including producing a artwork for the bedroom of Gunter Sachs (a famous art collector), sculptures in in New York, Miami and Barcelona. In 1994 he completed the Times Square Mural for the Times Square subway stop, and he designed the logo for DreamWorks Records.
  • Roy Lichtenstein died on 29th September 1997, aged 73. He was suffering with pneumonia.
  • Images created by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol were used in the U2 PopMart Tour.
  • His artworks now change hands for millions of dollars. Sleeping Girl sold for more than $40 million in 2012 and Woman with Flowered Hat went for more than $55 million in 2013.

What next? Discover some facts about other famous artists.

Pop Art Facts

Here are some facts about Pop Art.

  • Pop art, or popular art, was an art movement of the 1950s and 60s in America and Europe. It made use of popular imagery, such as comics, films, advertising and household objects.

  • The movement was a reaction against the traditions of accepted art. It often used bright colours such as red, blue, and yellow, as well as images of celebrities or fictional characters from TV or comics.
  • Silk screen printing and collage were widely used techniques of the time. The movement had some things in common with the earlier Dada movement, which also used everyday objects.
  • Eduardo Paolozzi is said to have created the first pop art work in 1952, called I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything. Paolozzi formed the Independent Group in London that same year.
  • Some of the most famous pop artists included Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, and Jasper Johns. Another well-known pop artist was Peter Blake who designed one of the Beatles’ album covers.
  • Andy Warhol was the most famous pop artist. His work consisted of prints using repeated images of familiar images from everyday life, including banknotes, soup tins, and Marilyn Monroe.
  • Warhol also made experimental films, formed a rock group, and opened a nightclub. In 1968 he was shot and seriously wounded by a radical female writer.
  • Another well-known pop artist was Roy Lichtenstein. His paintings and prints looked just like comic strips, including his most well-known work entitled Whaam!
  • Some pop art works are among the most expensive paintings ever sold. In 2010 a painting of the American flag by Jasper Johns sold for about £70 million.
  • London’s Tate Gallery is one of the best places to see pop art, along with New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh is America’s largest museum devoted to a single artist.