Roy Lichtenstein was an American Pop artist and became a leading figure in the new art movement in the 60's. Favoring the old-fashioned comic strip as subject matter, Lichtenstein produced hard-edged, precise compositions.
Born in New York, Lichtenstein first became interested in art and design as a hobby, He left New York to study at the Ohio State University, which offered studio courses and a degree in fine arts. His studies were interrupted by a three-year stint in the army during and after World War II between 1943 and 1946. After finishing his studies, he was hired as an art instructor, a post he held on and off for the next ten years. In 1961, Leo Castelli started displaying Lichtenstein's work at his gallery in New York. Lichtenstein had his first one-man show at the Castelli gallery in 1962; the entire collection was bought by influential collectors before the show even opened.
His most famous image is arguably Whaam! (1963, Tate Modern, London), one of the earliest known examples of pop art, adapted a comic-book panel from a 1962. Most of his best-known artworks are relatively close, but not exact, copies of comic book panels, a subject he largely abandoned in 1965. In the early 1960s, Lichtenstein reproduced masterpieces by Cézanne, Mondrian and Picasso before embarking on the Brushstroke series in 1965. Lichtenstein continued to revisit this theme later in his career with works such as Bedroom at Arles that derived from Vincent van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles.
In 1964, Lichtenstein became the first American to exhibit at the Tate Gallery, London, on the occasion of the show "'54–'64: Painting and Sculpture of a Decade".In the late 1970s, this style was replaced with more surreal works such as Pow Wow. A major series of Surrealist-Pop paintings from 1979–81 is based on Native American themes.
Lichtenstein's Still Life paintings, sculptures and drawings, which span from 1972 through the early 1980s, cover a variety of motifs and themes, including the most traditional such as fruit, flowers, and vases. In his Reflection series, produced between 1988 and 1990, Lichtenstein reused his own motifs from previous works. Interiors (1991–1992) is a series of works depicting banal domestic environments inspired by furniture ads the artist found in telephone books or on billboards. The nude is a recurring element in Lichtenstein's work of the 1990s. He died of pneumonia in 1997.
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