Who was Roy Lichtenstein?
On October 27, 1923, Roy Lichtenstein , one of the leading figures in American Pop Art, was born. In the 1960s, he gained prominence by producing works inspired by comic books, such as “In the Car” and ``Whaam!''. With his very own style, he meticulously explored the distinction between painting and commercial printing. The constant use of the Benday dot, common in the reproduction of newspapers and magazines, thus gave prominence to his paintings. Engraving was also an integral part of his production, thus managing to increase his audience. Discover 5 must-have artworks that influenced artists like Richard Prince, Jeff Koons and Raymond Pettibon in the new article.
First created and exhibited in 1963, this canvas made with acrylic paint and oil became known as one of the icons of pop art. Currently belonging to the Tate Modern collection, the work “Whaam!” is based on an image from the comic strip “All American Men of War” by DC Comics. In this piece, Roy Lichtenstein's great interest in comics with contents related to romance and war is shown, as well as his memories of when he served in World War II in anti-aircraft exercises. Thus, military aviation is one of the themes constantly portrayed in Roy Lichtenstein's works .
2.Reflections on Girl
Reflections on Girl was part of a group of seven prints, entitled Reflections. In this series, the artist was once again inspired by comics, entering once again into popularized visual culture. The technique is the highlight of these works, as Roy Lichtenstein simulated the existence of a glass or other surface, from the dark color or reflected light simulation, thus offering the viewer a different perception of reality. This idea was developed in a set of paintings, between 1988 and 1993. About the series of paintings the artist explained:
“It started when I tried to photograph a print by Robert Rauschenberg that was under glass. But the light from a window reflected on the surface of the glass and prevented me from taking a good picture. But it gave me the idea of photographing fairly well-known works under glass, where the reflection would hide most of the work, but you could still make out what the subject was. Well, I tried to do a few photographs in this manner; but I am not much of a photographer. Later the idea occurred to method of the same idea in painting; and I started this series on various early works of mine … It portrays a painting under glass. It is framed and the glass is preventing you from seeing the painting. Of course the reflections are just an excuse to make an abstract work, with the cartoon image being supposedly partly hidden by the reflections.
Run for Love! published by DC Comics in 1962, it served for several decades as an inspiration for the works of Roy Lichtenstein . In the original illustration of Drowning Girl the girl's girlfriend appears to be drowning, however the American artist dramatically cuts the image depicted is alone screaming “I don't care”. In addition to the dramatic content of the comic book, he also adapted Benday's dots in his works, used in mechanical reproduction mainly in comic books.
This work is part of a series of nine silkscreens produced on the theme of nudity, one of the main themes in the history of art. “Two nudes” and works such as Nus with Beach Ball and Blue Nude, with the same theme, altered the equation between the motif and the formal concerns of the composition, thus adding a new pictorial language. The fascination with the nude comes from the masters, particularly from Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse . As the artist declared: “I've always been interested in Matisse but maybe a little more interested in Picasso. But they are both overwhelming influences on everyone, really. Whether one tries to be like them or tries not to be like them, they're always there the presences to be dealt with. They're just too formidable to have no interest. I think that someone who intends he's not interested is not interested in art.”
5.Girl with ball
The Girl with ball painting was inspired by an image for a hotel advertisement in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Roy Lichtenstein modified the image and introduced his influences: the idea of a comic book with intense coloring in a primary color palette and an exaggeration of the Benday process. By choosing for his common themes, as is, the American artist challenged the aesthetic orthodoxy of the time, which still belonged to abstract expressionism.