The Artist Roy Lichtenstein

Born in 1923, the American artist Roy Lichtenstein was a major contributor to the Pop Art movement of the twentieth century. He is associated with both painting and sculpture. Much of his best-known work is in the comic-book style. One of his most famous works, Drowning Girl (1963), is displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Lichtenstein was born in New York City’s Manhattan borough. Art was not a part of his early formal education, but it became an important hobby. After frequently attending jazz performances, Lichtenstein would sketch portraits of musicians. He began studying art at Ohio State University until he served in the U.S. Army in Europe during WWII between 1943 and 1946. Afterward Lichtenstein returned to Ohio State where he also maintained graduate studies and obtained a position as an art instructor. In 1949 Lichtenstein married Isabel Wilson, though the couple would divorce in 1965. They had two sons, David and Mitchell. His first exhibition came in 1951 at New York’s Carlebach Gallery.

During the fifties Lichtenstein worked at various jobs employing his art and design skills. In 1958 he taught at the State University of New York at Oswego and in 1960 at Rutgers University. Teaching at Rutgers led to his deepened interest in Pop Art. 1961 witnessed his first Pop paintings which featured cartoon imagery. In 1962 his exhibit at Castelli Gallery launched him onto the international art scene. He resigned from Rutgers to focus on his art and moved to New York City. In 1963 he would paint one of his most famous works, Whaam! which is owned today by London’s Tate Modern. He became revered for his use of popular imagery in his art.

In 1968 Lichtenstein married Dorothy Herzka. He largely abandoned the comic-book style by 1965, but his Pop Art paintings continued to fetch immense sums at auction. He also created sculptures. Before he died of pneumonia in 1997, he designed the logo for DreamWorks Records. A painting from his Entablature Series was destroyed during the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11 in 2001. Today Lichtenstein, along with artists like Andy Warhol, is regarded as a premier Pop Artist. He was also known to be influenced by artistic styles like Cubism, Surrealism, and Futurism. Additionally, Lichtenstein made lithographs, etchings, screenprints, and even woodcuts to create art. His work is characterized by humor and wit. Other famous works by the artist include Girl (1963), In the Car (1963), and Cathedral I (1969).