Roy Lichtenstein

From Academic Kids

Roy Lichtenstein (October 27, 1923 - September 29, 1997) was a prominent American pop artist, whose work borrowed heavily from popular advertising and comic book styles, which he himself described as being "as artificial as possible."

Using oil and Magna paint his best known works, such as Drowning Girl (1963), feature thick outlines, bold colors and Benday Dots to represent certain colors, as if created by photographic reproduction. Rather than attempt to reproduce his subjects, his work tackles the way mass media portrays them.

His most famous image is arguably Whaam! (1963, Tate Gallery, London), one of the earliest known examples of pop art, featuring a fighter aircraft firing a rocket into an enemy plane with a dazzling red and yellow explosion. The cartoon style is heightened by the use of the onomatopoetic lettering WHAAM! and the boxed caption "I pressed the fire control... and ahead of me rockets blazed through the sky..." This diptych is large in scale, measuring 1.7 x 4.0 m (5'7" x 13'4").

Most of his best-known artworks are very close, but not exact, copies of comic book panels, originally drawn by lesser known comic book artists such as Russ Heath, Tony Abruzzo, Irv Novick, and Jerry Grandinetti, who rarely received any credit. Artist Dave Gibbons, said of Lichtenstein's works: "Roy Lichtenstein's copies of the work of Irv Novick and Russ Heath are flat, uncomprehending tracings of quite sophisticated images."

A different view was expressed in The Economist in Lichtenstein's obituary:

Mere workers at the coal-face, the artists who laboured away on the comic books that Mr Lichtenstein copied, did not think much of his paintings. In enlarging them, some claimed, they became static. Some threatened to sue him. Whatever the justice of their complaints, in fact Mr Lichtenstein did them a sort of favour. Comic books these days are often taken seriously, the subject of theses (or a sign of growing illiteracy). But this is to miss the point of Roy Lichtenstein's achievement. His was the idea. The art of today, he told an interviewer, is all around us. It is not Impressionist painting. "It's really McDonald's." Of course, you don't have to believe everything he said.

While best known for his comic based work, the November 8, 1993 issue of Time magazine noted:

Lichtenstein has been typecast as "the comic-strip artist," but in fact comic strips take up only an early phase of his work. By 1965 he had stopped basing images on them. He was never to refer to comics again, except now and then by including a parody of one of his own earlier paintings in a parody of an elegant interior

In addition to paintings, he also made sculptures in metal and plastic.

Lichtenstein was born in Manhattan and died there. He studied at Ohio State University, where he also taught for five years between 1946 and 1951. He also taught at Rutgers University between 1960 and 1964.

External link

actual exhibitions with Roy Lichtenstein worldwide

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