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Artist, Graphic Designer, Sculptor
“Roy Lichtenstein became famous in the early 1960s for his deadpan recreations of popular imagery, particularly paintings based on war and romance comics. Lichtenstein's interest in quoting subjects form both high and low art has continued throughout his career, producing a fascinating and varied body of work.”
~Roy Lichtenstein, Vol. 1 by Lawrence Alloway
The Early Days
The Early Days
This one of his early works that was inspired by the Cubist period. In an iterview he had this to say about Cubism:
“That element of play in Cubism: where the play becomes more literary, it led to Dada. I don't think that my work relates to Dada, though probably everybody's painting is influenced by Dada, including Jackson Pollock's. But I think that the principal influence was Cubism and still is.”
The Surrender of Weatherford to Jackson
In 1956, he showed early signs of pop art work to come. This however was the only lithograph that he did like this until many years later.
Ten Dollar Bill
Early on his career, he began to use abstract expressionist style in his work. He began to dabble with cartoon imagery with the likenesses of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny.
In the summer of 1961, he created his first painting using Benday dots in his soon-to-be-signature cartoon style with a dialogue balloon. This was a process that used a plastic bristle brush dipped in oil paint and stenciled onto a canvas using a roller. The roller distributed the paint over his handmade metal screen and then he used a small scrub brush to push the paint through.
Here is an example of his cartoon style. It resembles a panel excerpt from a comic book.
His work began to evolve into a style that was unique to him. He painted advertisement like paintings depicting consumer products. These were often very simple and restricted to few colors.
Here he is working in blue and white to give this piece a simulated printed reproduction feel.
Roy was able to impress the director of the Leo Castelli Gallery with this painting. They agreed to represent him as an artist. It was there that Roy’s work was seen by Andy Warhol. After meeting Warhol, Roy was invited to his studio to view his work. While he was there, Roy saw the works of Warhol for the first time. His work consisted of similar subject matter to Roy’s, comic strip style and consumer goods .
Girl with Ball
From 1961-1968 he created a series of of black and white drawings using ink and a speedball pen.
Bread in Bag
This painting he based on the works of Paul Cezanne.
Man with Folded Arms
In 1962 he creates his first painting that depicts women’s heads close up. This will also become a signature style for him in much of his work.
He experimented with painting only single words on the canvas but, that idea didn’t last long. He decided that wasn’t a great idea.
He based some of his work on war comics. These paintings felt like excerpts from a story. This makes the viewer create a situation in their mind about what has happened before this and what will happen next.
Roy began a series of paintings that involved women that resembled the women from the D.C. comics. They were also very close up angles of the women’s faces.
He replaced his handmade metal screen that he used to apply the Benday dots with manufactured one. He also hired employees to apply the paint to the Benday dots.
In 1963, his work begins to appear in “Pop Art” shows.
Then in 1964, he replaced the metal screens with paper screens made especially for him. This enables him to make the Benday dots in proportion to the size of the canvas making the dots larger.
Girl with Hair Ribbon
Roy was also a sculptor. He was inspired by the New York subway signs. This sculpture has an art deco quality about it.
Modern Sculpture with Glass Wave
This is a sculpture that stands 30 feet high in Arcadia, California. His inspiration came from Italian Futurism.
Roy was commissioned to do the cover for Newsweek, April 25th, 1966. It was an entire issue about “The Story of Pop.”
He was asked again to do another magazine cover, this time for Time Magazine. Roy was asked to do two covers in 1967. May 24th, the cover of Time displayed Lichtenstein’s portrait of Bobby Kennedy. Then again in June, Roy’s artwork graced the cover with his rendering of a gun for “The Gun in America” issue.
This is a film poster that he did that is reminisent of the modern movement in America.
One of his more recent works was this book cover in 1993.
Tin Tin in the New World: a Romance
This logo for Dreamworks Records was his last completed project before his death in 1997. Roy Lichtenstein passed away of complications from pneumonia.
Roy Lichtenstein was mostly a painter but, his art and styles greatly impacted the world of graphic design. His style was a timeless classic and will forever be revered as the representative for “Pop Art.”
Alloway,Lawerance &Lichtenstein, Roy(1983). Roy Lichtenstein, Vol. 1. Abbeville Press, Incorporated .
Sylvestor, David (1997). "Some Kind of Reality". New York City Broadcast.
The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation
Henry Art Gallery
Roy Lichtenstein Quotes