Roy Lichtenstein

Dates1923 - 1997

Working with a bright palette and on an oversized scale, Roy Lichtenstein painted familiar characters from American comic strips and advertising--its war heroes, jilted lovers, and contented housewives. The artist's celebration and critique of popular culture made him a central figure of the Pop Art movement.

Much of Lichtenstein's early work was abstract, but in 1961 he began borrowing both the subject matter and style of comics and advertisements. To mimic commercial printing techniques, Lichtenstein favored a bold, bright palette. He also used patterns of colored circles to evoke the Benday dots of newspaper images. This imitative technique suggests an impersonal, mechanized approach to painting and drew attention to the banality or clichéd character of his source material.

By the mid-1960s, Lichtenstein did not always base his works on a specific source. He created imaginary landscapes, a series of enlarged "brushstrokes," and applied his comic strip style to iconic work by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, and other modern painters. Lichtenstein also made sculpture, their forms often inspired by motifs developed in his paintings. His earliest three-dimensional pieces were made of wood; he later turned to glazed ceramics. Beginning in the late 1970s, Lichtenstein began producing large-scale sculptures for public spaces.