Roy Lichtenstein

Biography of Roy Lichtenstein

Few artists could be said to have ushered in an entirely new aesthetic quite like Roy Lichtenstein. His vibrantly colored paradise of advertisements and comic strips were unlike anything seen before in a gallery setting. Lichtenstein's primary color paintings came at a time when Abstract Expressionism still held sway and commercial art was being looked down upon with severe contempt.

 

Roy Lichtenstein's genius was in stressing the artificiality of the images by using flat single color dots that he rendered by hand using paint and stencils. His paintings were deadpan, new, stylized, and radical, as though they had come from a commercial press. Born in New York, USA in 1923, Lichtenstein's studies were interrupted by his conscription in the Second World War. His early work focused on subjects from American folklore, his style a combination of earlier movements and modernism.

 

By the mid 60s Roy Lichtenstein was being hailed as the leader of the Pop Art movement, one that included the likes of Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. Their work provoked much debate over consumerism, notions of originality, and what could conceivably be called "art". Later in his career Lichtenstein would extend his source material to include art history, especially the work of Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet. He also went on to experiment with sculpture.

 

In 1964 Roy Lichtenstein became the first American artist to exhibit at the Tate Gallery in London and in 1995 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts in Washington D.C. Lichtenstein died in 1997 as one of the most collected and appreciated artists of the 20th century. In 2015 his dazzling masterpiece Nurse, 1964 sold for 95.4 million dollars at a Christie's auction. Lichtenstein was a highly collected maker of editions and multiples and over 300 of his works are housed in the National Gallery of Australia's collection. 

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