A key figure in the Pop art movement and beyond, Roy Lichtenstein based his deeply inventive career on imitation. He began by borrowing images from comic books and advertisements in the early 1960s, eventually embracing those of everyday objects, artistic styles and art history itself. Zoom in on this true pop art figure.
Roy Lichtenstein: an original journey
Roy Lichtenstein was an American pop artist best known for his brightly colored parodies of comic books and advertisements. Early in his artistic career, Lichtenstein painted themes of the American West in a variety of modern art styles. In addition to this, he dabbled in Abstract Expressionism in 1957, a style he himself later rejected. His interest in comics as an artistic theme probably began with a painting of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck that he did in 1960 for his children. Although initially dissatisfied with his technique and uncomfortable with direct appropriation, he took great pleasure in presenting well-known comic book characters in an art format.
Roy Lichtenstein: a unique artist
Roy Lichtenstein increased the size of his canvases and began to manipulate, for his own purposes, the graphic and linguistic conventions of comic books dealing with genres such as romance, war and science fiction. In the manner of comic books, he used words to express sound effects. He developed a detached, mass- produced effect by delineating areas of primary color with thick black lines and used a technique that simulated Benday screening (a dot pattern used by printmakers).
Roy Lichtenstein: a true icon of pop art
Lichtenstein’s first one-man show, held in New York in 1962, was a great commercial success and his innovative work found an international audience. In 1966, he became the first American to exhibit at the Tate Gallery in London.
Lichtenstein continued in this vein for much of his career, and his works are easily identified by their comic book characteristics. Nevertheless, he extended these techniques into intelligent and thought-provoking meditations on art and popular culture. After the 1960s, Lichtenstein’s works began to include still life and landscapes, and they departed radically from his earlier style through his use of brushstrokes as well as with regards to the subject matter.