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Roy Lichtenstein Artist, Graphic Designer, Sculptor

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Roy Lichtenstein

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

1923-1997


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The Life of Roy

The Early Days

  • On October 27th, 1923 Roy Lichtenstein was born in Manhattan to Milton, a real-estate broker, and Beatice, a homemaker.

  • As a child, Roy showed interest in drawing, science and building model airplanes. For entertainment, he enjoyed listening to “Flash Gordon” on the radio. Later, his work shows roots in these interests.

  • At 14 years old he enrolled in a watercolor class at the Parson’s School of design in Manhattan.

  • In 1940, Roy graduated from high school and enrolled in his freshman year at Ohio State University. There he took his first drawing classes.


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The Life of Roy

The Early Days

  • From 1943-1946 Roy did active duty in the Air Force. He traveled over to Europe where he visited France and Belgium. While there he saw combat action in Germany.

  • While in the Air Force he kept his sketchbooks full of drawing of fellow soldiers and new landscapes.

  • After his tour of duty in the Air Force he returned to Ohio State University where he graduated in June of 1946 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

  • That August, in 1946, he began graduate school at Ohio State. While there as a graduate student he was also teaching in the fine arts department as an instructor. In 1949, he received his Master of Fine Art from Ohio State.

  • While doing his undergraduate work his style at this time was based on American genre paintings. The subjects of his work was recognizable but it was in the Cubist style with Expressionist overtones.


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Works of Roy

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


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Works of Roy

  • In 1949, Roy had his first gallery exhibition at the Chinese Gallery in New York.

  • Before he made a living doing art, he worked several different jobs, that were each short- lived but still kept his skills sharp. Roy was a drawing teacher for a commercial art school, an engineering draftsman for a steel company, designed display windows for department stores and drew black and white images for an instrument company.

  • Then in 1951, he began to take his work to galleries himself on the roof of his car.

  • His work at this time was made of wood, metal pieces and found objects. He used muted colors like pinks and blues.


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Works of Roy

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


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Works of Roy

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.

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Bugs Bunny


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Works of Roy

Donald Duck


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Works of Roy

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.


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Works of Roy

Here is an example of his cartoon style. It resembles a panel excerpt from a comic book.

Look Mickey


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Works of Roy

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.





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Works of Roy

Here he is working in blue and white to give this piece a simulated printed reproduction feel.


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Works of Roy

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


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Works of Roy

From 1961-1968 he created a series of of black and white drawings using ink and a speedball pen.

Couch


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Works of Roy

Bread in Bag


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Works of Roy

This painting he based on the works of Paul Cezanne.

Man with Folded Arms


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Works of Roy

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.

Refrigerator


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Works of Roy

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.

In


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Works of Roy

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.

Brattata


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Works of Roy

Torpedo Los


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Works of Roy

Live Ammo


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Works of Roy

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.

Drowning Girl


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Works of Roy

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


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Works of Roy

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


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Works of Roy

This is a sculpture that stands 30 feet high in Arcadia, California. His inspiration came from Italian Futurism.

Modern Head


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Works of Roy

Roy was commissioned to do the cover for Newsweek, April 25th, 1966. It was an entire issue about “The Story of Pop.”


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Works of Roy

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.



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Works of Roy

This is a film poster that he did that is reminisent of the modern movement in America.


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Works of Roy

One of his more recent works was this book cover in 1993.

Tin Tin in the New World: a Romance


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Works of Roy

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.”


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Works of Roy Biblography

References:

Alloway,Lawerance &Lichtenstein, Roy(1983). Roy Lichtenstein, Vol. 1. Abbeville Press, Incorporated .

Sylvestor, David (1997). "Some Kind of Reality". New York City Broadcast.

Refer to:

The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation

http://www.lichtensteinfoundation.org/frames.htm

Henry Art Gallery

http://www.henryart.org/ex/lichtenstein.htm

Roy Lichtenstein Quotes

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/r/roy_lichtenstein.html

Blam

http://hans.presto.tripod.com/blam.html


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