Roy Lichtenstein USA, 1923-1997
Roy Lichtenstein was an American pop artist. During the 1960s, along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and James Rosenquist among others, he became a leading figure in the new art movement. His work defined the premise of pop art through parody. Inspired by the comic strip, Lichtenstein produced precise compositions that documented while they parodied, often in a tongue-in-cheek manner. His work was influenced by popular advertising and the comic book style. He described pop art as "not 'American' painting but actually industrial painting".
Lichtenstein's works based on enlarged panels from comic books engendered a widespread debate about their merits as art. Lichtenstein himself admitted, "I am nominally copying, but I am really restating the copied thing in other terms. In doing that, the original acquires a totally different texture. It isn't thick or thin brushstrokes, it's dots and flat colours and unyielding lines."
As well as producing paintings, Lichtenstein also created a number of limited edition prints from the 1960s onward, exploring technical innovations in lithography, screenprinting and woodcutting. He often combined multiple printing techniques in one image, or printed onto unconventional surfaces such as acetate or stainless steel.
Throughout his career Lichtenstein made paintings based on masterpieces by the giants of modern art, including Cézanne, Mondrian, Picasso and Monet. He drew on the long tradition of appropriation that exists in art history; as he pointed out, ‘Artists have often converted the work of other artists into their own style'. He was also well aware that his own appreciation of these masterpieces came from printed reproductions rather than originals, hence the mechanical and pixelated quality in many of his works. Lichtenstein said of his own iconic style that 'the dots can have a purely decorative meaning, or they can mean an industrial way of extending the colour, or data information.'
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