Roy Lichtenstein


Roy Lichtenstein Biography

1923 - 1997

A leading figure in the Pop Art movement of the 1960s, painter, printmaker, and sculptor Roy Lichtenstein was born in New York and studied under Reginald Marsh at the Art Students League of New York. A year later, he began studies with Hoyt L. Sherman at at Ohio State where he obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1949. From 1960 to 1963, Lichtenstein taught at Douglass Residential College at Rutgers University. 

In 1961, Lichtenstein began making paintings that appropriated images from comic strips and advertisements. For these works, he would crop and recompose the images to achieve his narrative and formal goals. These paintings introduced the style for which Lichtenstein is best known, consisting of strong black outlines, bright primary colors, and painted Benday dots that simulate commercial printing. Interested in the problems of representing three dimensions on a flat picture plane, Lichtenstein made many works that playfully explored the styles of 20th century art movements. His Brushstrokes series (1965-71), for example, parodied the gestural works of Abstract Expressionism. Other important works include paintings based on famous works by Monet, Picasso, and Mondrian. 

In addition to painting and sculpture in wood, ceramic, and bronze, printmaking was an important part of Lichtenstein’s artistic practice. He began printmaking early on and in the early 1950s he frequently entered regional print exhibitions. In 1962, he made his first prints in his Pop Art style. Overall, his oeuvre includes roughly 350 printed images many of which were created in series that explored themes similar to those in his paintings. 

Lichtenstein received many honors over the course of his career, including being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1979. His work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and more. In 2012-13, his work was featured in a major retrospective organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and the Tate Modern, London.