Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein

Infobox Artist
bgcolour = #6495ED
name = Roy Lichtenstein


imagesize =
caption = Roy Lichtenstein, 1985
birthname =
birthdate = birth date|mf=yes|1923|10|27|
location = Manhattan, New York City
deathdate = death date and age|mf=yes|1997|9|29|1923|10|27
deathplace = Manhattan, New York City
nationality = American
field = Painting, Sculpture
training = Ohio State University
movement = Pop Art
patrons =
awards =

Roy Fox Lichtenstein (October 27, 1923 – September 29, 1997) 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".cite book
last = Coplans
first = John
authorlink = John Coplans
title = "Roy Lichtenstein"
date = 1972
pages = Interviews, p55, 30, 31
]

Early years

Roy Lichtenstein was born on October 27, 1923 into an upper-middle-class New York City cite web
url = http://www.lichtensteinfoundation.org/frames.htm
title = The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation - Chronology
accessdate = 2007-11-12
author = Clare Bell
] family, and attended public school until the age of 12. He then enrolled at Manhattan's Franklin School for Boys, remaining there for his secondary education. Art was not included in the school's curriculum; Lichtenstein first became interested in art and design as a hobby. cite book | last = Hendrickson | first = Janis | title = "Lichtenstein" | date = 1993 | pages = p94 ] He was an avid jazz fan, often attending concerts at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He would frequently draw portraits of the musicians playing their instruments. cite book | last = Hendrickson | first = Janis | title = "Lichtenstein" | date = 1993 | pages = p94 ] After graduation from Franklin, Lichtenstein enrolled in summer classes at the Art Students League of New York, where he worked under the tutelage of Reginald Marsh. cite book
last = Coplans
first = John
authorlink = John Coplans
title = "Roy Lichtenstein"
date = 1972
pages = p30
]

Lichtenstein then 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 World War II and after between 1943 and 1946. Lichtenstein returned home to visit his dying father and was discharged from the army under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act (USA). Returning to studies in Ohio under the supervision of one of his teachers, Hoyt L. Sherman, who is widely regarded to have had a significant impact on his future work (Lichtenstein would later name a new studio he funded at OSU as the Hoyt L. Sherman Studio Art Center). [cite web | author = The Ohio State University | title = Sculpture. Facilities | url= http://art.osu.edu/?p=ds_facilities | accessdate = 2007-11-12] 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 1949 Lichtenstein received a M.F.A. degree from the Ohio State University and in the same year married Isabel Wilson (divorced 1965). cite book | last = Alloway | first = Lawrence | title = "Roy Lichtenstein" | date = 1983 | pages = p113] Wilson was previously married to Cleveland, Ohio artist Michael Sarisky. In 1951 Lichtenstein had his first one-man exhibition at Carlebach Gallery in New York. He moved to Cleveland in the same year, where he remained for six years, although frequently traveling back to New York. Undertaking jobs as varied as a draftsman to a window decorator in between periods of painting. His work at this time fluctuated between Cubism and Expressionism. cite book | last = Hendrickson | first = Janis | title = "Lichtenstein" | date = 1993 | pages = p94 ] In 1954 his first son, David Hoyt Lichtenstein was born. He then had his second son, Mitchell Lichtenstein in 1956. cite book
last = Coplans
first = John
authorlink = John Coplans
title = "Roy Lichtenstein"
date = 1972
pages = p31
] In 1957 he moved back to upstate New York and began teaching again.cite book
last = Coplans
first = John
authorlink = John Coplans
title = "Roy Lichtenstein"
date = 1972
pages = p31
] It was at this time that he adopted the Abstract Expressionism style, a late convert to this style of painting.]

Rise to fame

Lichtenstein began teaching in upstate New York at State University of New York at Oswego in 1958. However, the brutal upstate winters were taking a toll on him and his wife. [ cite web |url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2004/02/25/baroy23.xml |title=Whaam! Suddenly Roy was the darling of the art world | accessdate = 2007-11-12 ]

In 1960, he started teaching at Rutgers University where he was heavily influenced by Allan Kaprow, also a teacher at the University. This environment helped to reignite his interest in Proto-pop imagery. cite web
url = http://www.lichtensteinfoundation.org/frames.htm
title = The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation - Chronology
accessdate = 2007-11-12
author = Clare Bell
] 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. cite book | last = Hendrickson | first = Janis | title = "Lichtenstein" | date = 1993 | pages = p94 ] His first work to feature the large-scale use of hard-edged figures and Benday Dots was "Look Mickey" (1961, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). cite book | last = Alloway | first = Lawrence | title = "Roy Lichtenstein" | date = 1983 | pages = p13] This 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?"cite book | last = Lucie-Smith | first = Edward | authorlink = Edward Lucie-Smith | title = Lives of the Great 20th-Century Artists | publisher = Thames & Hudson | date = September 1, 1999 | location = | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 978-0500237397] In the same year he produced six other works with recognizable characters from gum wrappers or cartoons. cite book | last = Lobel | first = Michael | title = "Image Duplicator" | date = 2002 | pages = p33 ] 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. cite web
url = http://www.lichtensteinfoundation.org/frames.htm
title = The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation - Chronology
accessdate = 2007-11-12
author = Clare Bell
] Interestingly Castelli rejected the work of one of Lichtenstein's contemporaries, Andy Warhol. In September 1963 he took a leave of absence from his teaching position at Douglass College at Rutgers. [Joan M Marter, "Off limits: Rutgers University and the Avant-Garde 1957-1963", Rutgers University Press, 1999, p37. ISBN 0813526108]

Fame

It was at this time that Lichtenstein began to find fame not just in America but worldwide. He moved back to New York to be at the center of the art scene and resigned from Rutgers University in 1964 to concentrate on his painting.] Lichtenstein used oil and Magna paint in his best known works, such as "Drowning Girl" (1963), which was appropriated from the lead story in DC Comics' "Secret Hearts" #83. ("Drowning Girl" now hangs in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.] ) Also featuring thick outlines, bold colors and Benday Dots to represent certain colors, as if created by photographic reproduction. Lichtenstein would say of his own work: Abstract Expressionists "put things down on the canvas and responded to what they had done, to the color positions and sizes. My style looks completely different, but the nature of putting down lines pretty much is the same; mine just don't come out looking calligraphic, like Pollock's or Kline's." [cite news
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B03E0DF103AF933A0575AC0A961958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=3
title=Roy Lichtenstein, Pop Master, Dies at 73
first=Michael
last=Kimmelman
date=1997-09-30
publisher=New York Times
accessdate=2007-11-12
] Rather than attempt to reproduce his subjects, his work tackled the way mass media portrays them. Lichtenstein would never take himself too seriously however: "I think my work is different from comic strips- but I wouldn't call it transformation; I don't think that whatever is meant by it is important to art". cite book
last = Coplans
first = John
authorlink = John Coplans
title = "Roy Lichtenstein"
date = 1972
pages = p54
] When his work was first released, many art critics of the time challenged its originality. More often than not they were making no attempt to be positive. Lichtenstein responded to such claims by offering responses such as the following: "The closer my work is to the original, the more threatening and critical the content". However, my work is entirely transformed in that my purpose and perception are entirely different. I think my paintings are critically transformed, but it would be difficult to prove it by any rational line of argument". cite book
last = Coplans
first = John
authorlink = John Coplans
title = "Roy Lichtenstein"
date = 1972
pages = p52
]

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 issue of DC Comics' "All-American Men of War".cite web
url=http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=8782
work=Tate Collection
title=Whaam!
first=Roy
last=Lichtenstein
accessdate=2008-01-27
] The painting depicts a fighter aircraft firing a rocket into an enemy plane, with a red-and-yellow explosion. The cartoon style is heightened by the use of the onomatopoeic lettering "Whaam!" and the boxed caption "I pressed the fire control... and ahead of me rockets blazed through the sky..." This diptych is large in scale, measuring 1.7 x 4.0 m (5 ft 7 in x 13 ft 4 in).

Most of his best-known artworks 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."cite web | last = Beam | first = Alex | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Lichtenstein: creator or copycat? | work = Editorial | publisher = Boston.com | date = October 18, 2006 | url = http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2006/10/18/lichtenstein_creator_or_copycat/ | format = Web | doi = | accessdate = 2007-07-16 ] In 1967 his first museum retrospective exhibition was held at the Pasadena Art Museum in California. Also in this year his first solo exhibition in Europe was held at museums in Amsterdam, London, Bern and Hannover. cite book | last = Alloway | first = Lawrence | title = "Roy Lichtenstein" | date = 1983 | pages = p113] He married his second wife, Dorothy Herzka in 1968. cite book | last = Alloway | first = Lawrence | title = "Roy Lichtenstein" | date = 1983 | pages = p114]

In the 1970s and 1980s, his work began to loosen and expand on what he had done before. He produced a series of "Artists Studios" which incorporated elements of his previous work. A notable example being "Artist's Studio, Look Mickey" (1973, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis) which incorporates five other previous works, fitted into the scene. cite web
url = http://www.lichtensteinfoundation.org/frames.htm
title = The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation - Chronology
accessdate = 2007-11-12
author = Clare Bell
]

In the late 1970s, this style was replaced with more surreal works such as "Pow Wow" (1979, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen).

In addition to paintings, he also made sculptures in metal and plastic including some notable public sculptures such as "Lamp" in St. Mary’s, Georgia in 1978, and over 300 prints, mostly in screenprinting. [Corlett, Mary Lee. The prints of Roy Lichtenstein, a catalogue raisonné, 1948-1997 2nd ed. (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 2002).]

His painting "Torpedo...Los!" sold at Christie's for $5.5 million in 1989, a record sum at the time, making him one of only three living artists to have attracted such huge sums. cite book | last = Alloway | first = Lawrence | title = "Roy Lichtenstein" | date = 1983 | pages = p114]

In 1996 the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC became the largest single repository of the artist's work when he donated 154 prints and 2 books. In total there are some 4,500 works thought to be in circulation. cite web
url = http://www.lichtensteinfoundation.org/frames.htm
title = The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation - Chronology
accessdate = 2007-11-12
author = Clare Bell
]

He died of pneumonia in 1997 at New York University Medical Center.

He was survived by his second wife Dorothy and by his sons, David and Mitchell, from his first marriage. The DreamWorks Records logo was his last completed project. cite web
url = http://www.lichtensteinfoundation.org/frames.htm
title = The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation - Chronology
accessdate = 2007-11-12
author = Clare Bell
]

Relevance to modern day culture

The pop art culture is still connected very much to life in the 21st century. Lichtenstein's work as well as contemporaries such as 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 Roy Lichtenstein’s The Entablature Series was destroyed in the fire.cite news
author = Kelly Devine Thomas
title = Aftershocks
url = http://www.artnews.com/issues/article.asp?art_id=1005
publisher = ARTnews
date = November 2001
accessdate = 2008-09-13
]

Awards

*1995 National Medal of the Arts, Washington D.C.
*1995 Kyoto Prize, Inamori Foundation, Kyoto, Japan.
*1993 Amici de Barcelona, from Mayor Pasqual Maragall, L’Alcalde de Barcelona.
*1991 Creative Arts Award in Painting, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.
*1989 American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy. Artist in residence.
*1979 American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York.
*1977 Skowehegan Medal for Painting, Skowehegan School, Skowehegan, Maine.

References

External links

* [http://www.lichtensteinfoundation.org/ Roy Lichtenstein Foundation]
* [http://www.image-duplicator.com/main.php Roy Lichtenstein Image Duplicator]
* [http://www.artchive.com/artchive/L/lichtenstein.html The Art Archive: Roy Lichtenstein]
* [http://davidbarsalou.homestead.com/LICHTENSTEINPROJECT.html Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein] (sources for Lichtenstein's comic-book paintings)
* [http://www.eyemagazine.com/opinion.php?id=5&oid=9 "Eye" (Spring 2001): "Historically, copying the Masters was considered to be a part of the painter’s training, not the final product", by Rian Hughes]
*
* [http://www.usautoparts.net/bmw/artcars/art_lichtenstein.htm 1977 BMW 320i with special paintjob by Roy Lichtenstein]
* [http://www.mta.info/mta/aft/permanentart/permart.html?agency=NYCT&line=P&station=2&artist=1 Roy Lichtenstein's public artwork at Times Square-42nd Street, commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit.]
* [http://www.miandn.com/ Mitchell-Innes & Nash]

Selection of museums showing Lichtenstein's work

* [http://www.albrightknox.org/ Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo NY (USA)]
* [http://www.oberlin.edu/amam/default.html/ Allen Art Museum, Oberlin OH (USA)]
* [http://www.chrysler.org/20century05.asp Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk VA (USA)]
* [http://www.nga.gov/cgi-bin/psearch?Request=A&Person=224210 National Gallery, Washington DC (USA)]
* [http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ArtistWorks?cgroupid=999999961&artistid=1508&page=1 Tate Modern (UK)]
* [http://www.npg.org.uk/live/index.asp National Portrait Gallery (UK)]
* [http://www.mmk-frankfurt.de/# Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art (D)]
* [http://collections.walkerart.org/item/agent/4 Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis (USA)]
* [http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A3542&page_number=1&template_id=6&sort_order=1 New York Museum of Modern Art (USA)]
* [http://www.stedelijk.nl/oc2/page.asp?PageID=150 Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL)]
* [http://www.museenkoeln.de/english/museum-ludwig/default.asp Ludwig Museum, Cologne (D)]
* [http://www.castelligallery.com/current/index.html Castelli Gallery, New York (USA)]
* [http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_works_88_0.html Guggenheim Museum, New York (USA)]
* [http://www.metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/viewOne.asp?dep=21&viewMode=0&item=1980%2E420 Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York (USA)]
* [http://search.sfmoma.org/search/?sp-f=ISO-8859-1&sp-c=9&sp-a=sp10026505&sp-p=all&sp-q=lichtenstein&sp-k=Collections&sp-i=1 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (USA)]
* [http://hirshhorn.si.edu/collection/search.asp?Artist=Lichtenstein&Page=1&ViewMode=2 Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC (USA)]
* [http://www.mam.org/collections/contemporaryart_detail_lichtenstein.htm Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee (USA)]
* [http://www.desmoinesartcenter.org/ Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa (USA)]
* [http://www.artsonthepoint.com/ Arts on the Point, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts (USA)]

Further reading and viewing

*"Roy Lichtenstein" by Janis Hendrickson - ISBN 3-8228-0281-6
*"The Prints of Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné 1948-1997" by Mary L. Corlett - ISBN 1-55595-196-1
*"Roy Lichtenstein (Modern Masters Series, Vol. 1)" by Lawrence Alloway - ISBN 0-89659-331-2
*"Roy Lichtenstein Interview with Chris Hunt" Image Entertainment video, 1991
*"Roy Lichtenstein Interview with Melvyn Bragg" video
* "Off Limits: Rutgers University and the Avant-Garde, 1957-1963" - Ed. Joan Marter - ISBN 0-8135-2609-4
*"Roy Lichtenstein's ABC's" by Bob Adelman - ISBN 978-0821225912
*"Roy Lichtenstein Drawings and Prints " 1970 Chelsea House publishers, introduction by Diane Waldman"


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