Along with the infamous Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein is regarded as the greatest artist of the Pop Art movement. He is known for incorporating comic strips, bright colors and techniques borrowed from the printing industry.
Roy Fox Lichtenstein was born on October 27, 1923, in New York City.
He did not have a particular artistic influence when he was growing up, but when he was 14 he attended a painting class at Parson’s School of Design every Saturday morning.
In 1939, at the age of 16, he studied under Reginald Marsh at the Art Students League in New York, and the following year under Hoyt L. Sherman at the School of Fine Arts at Ohio State University, Columbus.
At 20 years old, young Lichtenstein was drafted into the US Army and served in Europe during World War II. He returned home in 1946.
It was after his return home that Lichtenstein pursued his studies in art. He went to the Ohio State University and received his Master’s degree in 1949.
In the early 1950’s Lichtenstein moved to Cleveland where he worked as an engineer draftsman to support his ever-growing family. He never stopped painting, however.
Lichtenstein is known for his experiments with popular images. This technique of his dates back to 1956, when he created the famous Ten Dollar Bill print.
Throughout the late 1950’s he worked in the commercial graphic business, making designs and decorating shop windows. And from 1957 onwards, he taught at different universities.
However, despite his highly innovative style, Lichtenstein was still an unknown artist in his late thirties.
In 1961, he began to experiment with the images that remain popular today. He made paintings consisting exclusively of comic-strip figures, and introduced his dot backgrounds, lettering, and dialogue balloons.
The major change in Lichtenstein's career came with his first comic strip painting. He was 38 when he painted Look Mickey (1961), and this painting marked the beginning of Lichtenstein’s celebrated career. This was the painting in which he first used his now famous Benday dots and dialogue balloons.
From 1964 and into the next decade, he successively depicted a variety of techniques and forms. He portrayed stylized landscapes, consumer-product packages, adaptations of paintings by famous artists, geometric elements from Art Deco design, parodies of the Abstract Expressionists’ style, and explosions.
After this period came a three-year phase of exclusive abstract painting for Lichtenstein. This fit in well with the prominent Abstract Expressionist movement that was dominating the art scene at that time.
Lichtenstein spent the next two decades creating and exhibiting his art. Although he was recognized late in his career, his innovation was celebrated and admired by many.
Roy Lichtenstein died on September 29, 1997 of pneumonia at the New York University Medical Center. He had been hospitalized there for several weeks prior.