ARTIST INDEX: Roy Lichtenstein
Article written by Michelle Varinata on June 7, 2017
"I like to pretend that my art has nothing to do with me" - Roy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein (b. Oct. 27, 1923 in New York, New York) was an American painter and lithographer.
Known for his comic strip-style artwork, Lichtenstein's mastery of incorporating "low art" (e.g. comic books) into painting cemented his name as one of the icons of Pop Art. While Lichtenstein and his peer, Andy Warhol, were two of the biggest names in the genre, the former was an innovator of Pop Art in America.
As a New York native, Lichtenstein grew up in the Upper West Side with a younger sister. His father was a real estate broker while his mother was a homemaker. Since his mother did not work, she often took Lichtenstein and his sister to museums and concerts. As a teenager the artist took countless trips to the Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History, where he found inspiration to paint, sculpt and draw. He took painting courses at the Art Students League in New York and later studied drawing and design at Ohio State University.
Although Lichtenstein broke through in the 1960s, he tried to separate himself from the comic book style that he was best known for by painting over bronze sculptures and producing murals during the 1970's and 1980's. In 1997, he died of pneumonia.
Although Lichtenstein passed away, his artwork still remains popular. According to Art Price, he is ranked at #28 with 536 lots sold in 2016. In addition, Lichtenstein's work earned a turnover of at least $47.5 million. In 2015, Sotheby's sold The Ring (Engagement) (1962) for $41.6 million. Previously, Christie's sold Lichtenstein's I Can See the Whole Room!....and There's Nobody In It (1961) for more than $43 million in 2011.
Current Works on Sale
Selected Past Shows
Roy Lichtenstein, Museum of Contemporary Art: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 1994
Roy Lichtenstein: Reflections/Riflessi, Chiostro del Bramante, Rome, IT, 2000
Roy Lichtenstein: Early Black and White Paintings, Gagosian Gallery Madison Avenue, New York City, NY, 2001
Roy Lichtenstein: Sculpture on the Roof, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, 2003
Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, Tate Modern, London, UK, 2013
Current and Upcoming Exhibits
Roy Lichtenstein in Focus, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, March 3 to July 31, 2017
American Dream: Pop to the Present, The British Museum, London, UK, March 9 to June 18, 2017
Young America: Roy Lichtenstein and the America's Cup, Middleburg College Museum of Art, Middlebury, VT, May 26 to Aug. 13, 2017
Pablo Picasso's Guernica was his favorite painting
Lichtenstein served the army from 1943 to 1945
He taught industrial design at the State University of New York in Oswego
Lichtenstein spent at least 10 hours in the studio everyday
He briefly worked as a window display designer for a department store
He once exhibited his painting of a laughing woman at the New York State Pavilion for the World's Fair in 1964
His sculptures were commissioned in Singapore, Miami, Paris, Columbus and Barcelona
None of his black outlines defied monochromatic tones in order to heighten the abstract quality of his paintings and sculptures
"I'm not really sure what social message my art carries, if any. And I really don't want it to carry one. I'm not interested in the subject matter to try to teach society anything or try to better our world in any way" - Roy Lichtenstein