Roy Lichtenstein was born on October 27th, 1923, New York. After high school in his home city, he attended a drawing and painting summer course, after which he continued his artistic education at Ohio State University, under the mentorship of Hoyt L. Sherman, who had a great influence on his later work as an artist. In 1943 he had to join in the battles of the war in Europe, so he left his studies and graduated only in 1946. In the following years Lichtenstein lectured at several universities, worked in Cleveland as a commercial artist and designer of display windows, but in 1962 decided to devote himself entirely to painting. He was inspired by works of great European artists – Picasso, Klee, Magritte, Mondrian, Cezanne – which he interpreted in his own way. Initially drawn to the late works of Picasso, Braque and Klee, he later began to devote himself to abstract expressionism and in the ‘60s he became a leading representative of pop art. His early work was dedicated primarily to the American Wild West – he depicted cowboys and Indians and their culture with the assemblage technique. Then he began, at the request of his two children, to include cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other Disney characters into his works. Lichtenstein is famous for his prints inspired by comic books. They are dominated by eternal topics such as love, violence, war and science fiction. He enlarged some individual motifs from comics, coloured them in the same composition with a limited colour palette and emphasized it all with a marked frame. The ‘70s brought experimentation with different styles to his art – bold colours, drawing techniques, comic strip text bubbles and his characteristic half-tone dots. He approached the making of his comic book prints by first drawing the chosen scene from a comic book by pencil. Then he projected the drawing onto canvas, coloured the basic lines and added the dots using a toothbrush and perforated stencil. Using halftone dots, typical of mass printing techniques, he introduced optical illusions into his prints and directed the viewers to reflect on their perception of reality. Along with numerous drawings, paintings and prints, which are full of wit, parody and the absurd, Lichtenstein also created many sculptures in his artistic career. Ever since his first independent exhibition in 1950 in Cleveland and New York he dazzled audiences around the world and sold his works of art at exorbitant prices. He died in 1997 from pneumonia.
* 1923-10-27, New York, USA
+ 1997-09-29, Manhattan, New York, USA