ArtFACT Live! 

Look at our upcoming auctions
at our ArtFACT Live! profile!


Register with Us

Register to learn about our live
floor auctions!


Click here to Email Us

Contact Us

Questions? Comments?
Send us an Email! 

Roy Fox Lichtenstein (October 27, 1923 – September 29, 1997)

Roy Lichtenstein was a prominent American pop artist, his work heavily influenced by both popular advertising and the comic book style. He himself described Pop art as, "not 'American' painting but actually industrial painting".

Born into an upper-middle-class New York City family, Lichtenstein left New York after high school to study at the Ohio State University which offered studio courses and a degree in fine arts. After WWII, Lichtenstein entered the graduate program at Ohio State and was hired as an art instructor, a post he held on and off for the next ten years. In 1960, he started teaching at Rutgers University. This environment helped to reignite his interest in Proto-pop imagery. In 1961 Lichtenstein began his first Pop paintings using cartoon images and techniques derived from the appearance of commercial printing. This phase would continue to 1965 and included the use of advertising imagery suggesting consumerism and homemaking. His first work to feature the large-scale use of hard-edged figures and Benday Dots was Look Mickey (1961). The piece came from a challenge from one of his sons, who pointed to a Mickey Mouse comic book and said; "I bet you can't paint as good as that, eh, Dad?" In the same year he produced six other works with recognizable characters from gum wrappers or cartoons. In 1961 Leo Castelli started displaying Lichtenstein's work at his gallery in New York, and he had his first one man show at the gallery in 1962; the entire collection was bought by influential collectors of the time before the show even opened.

Lichtenstein began to find fame not just in America, but worldwide. In 1964, Lichtenstein resigned from Rutgers University in 1964 and moved back to New York to be at the center of the art scene and concentrate on his painting. Most of his best-known works are relatively close, but not exact, copies of comic-book panels, a subject he largely abandoned in 1965 (He would occasionally incorporate comics into his work in different ways in later decades). These panels were originally drawn by such comics artists as Jack Kirby and DC Comics artists Russ Heath, Tony Abruzzo, Irv Novick, and Jerry Grandenetti, who rarely received any credit. Jack Cowart, executive director of the Lichtenstein Foundation contests the notion that Lichtenstein was a copyist, saying: "Roy's work was a wonderment of the graphic formulae and the codification of sentiment that had been worked out by others. The panels were changed in scale, color, treatment, and in their implications. There is no exact copy."

The pop art culture is still connected to life in the 21st century. Lichtenstein's work as well as that of his contemporaries such as Andy Warhol hold relevance today and many of the messages portrayed can be directly linked to modern day life. An example of this continuing relevance is the use of Lichtenstein's and Warhol's images in U2's 1997, 1998 PopMart Tour and an exhibition in 2007 at the British National Portrait Gallery.

Among many other works of art destroyed in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, a painting from Lichtenstein’s Entablature Series was destroyed.