Roy Lichtenstein

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Roy Lichtenstein
Drowning Girl pop art artwork by Roy Lichtenstein

Drowning Girl

Born: 10/27/1923
Location: New York City, USA
Died: 09/29/1997
Age: 73
Movements Pop Art
Nationality American
Expertise Painting

Roy Lichtenstein was an American artist whose work consisted primarily of painting and prints that follow the look of advertisement illustrations and comic strips. These colorful comic depictions of real life were indicative of the Pop Art movement.

Personal life

Roy Lichtenstein was raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and like most children during the 20s and 30s, took a keen interest in the comics of the time. This interest turned out to be an important one that would guide Lichtenstein’s life, leading him to pursue the study of art as a teenager, attending Parsons School of Design in 1937 and the Art Students League in 1940. His earliest studies centered on watercolors. He furthered his studies at The Ohio State University in 1940, taking time off when drafted during World War II. He finally completed both his undergraduate and graduate work at the university before teaching there until 1951.


Roy Lichtenstein’s earliest professional work was done in a variety of styles, with his early exhibitions showing his talent at presenting subjects in multiple schools covering the 18th century through the most modern art forms. His American Pop Art style didn’t come to the forefront until the early 1960s. This work, including his 1963 painting Whaam! showed off the comic book influences, even going so far as to use a DC comic book panel as inspiration. In 1964, Lichtenstein expanded the theme of his work from the war-centric Whaam! to the romantically driven We Rose up Slowly. While the themes were more varied, the artist’s style, consisting primarily of colored circles against solid backgrounds with black outlines around figures, continued on. This style closely imitated the dot technique used for printing advertisements in newspapers. During the later period of his career, Lichtenstein began to take commissions on large-scaled work. One of these pieces was a 25-foot sculpture in a Columbus airport entitled Brushstrokes in Flight, done in 1984. Though Lichtenstein branched off into sculpture, he never quit painting. Even his larger commissions often contained paintings, including a five-story-high mural in the Port Columbus International Airport. This 1986 painting, Mural with Blue Brushstrokes, demonstrates his mastery of the technique that landed him one of the top spots in the American Pop Art movement, leaving a large-scaled representation of his work to be seen by hundreds of thousands of international travelers each year.

Fun Facts

  • Until his death, Lichtenstein often spent more than 10 hours a day in his studio.
  • Lichtenstein was married twice, once in 1949 and again in 1967.
  • In his free time at Parson’s School of Design, Lichtenstein started his own jazz band.

Related Artists


Some Examples of Roy Lichtenstein’s Artwork

Whaam! (panel 2 of 2) pop art artwork by Roy Lichtenstein

Whaam! (panel 2 of 2)

Whaam! (panel 1 of 2) pop art artwork by Roy Lichtenstein

Whaam! (panel 1 of 2)

M-Maybe c. 1965 pop art artwork by Roy Lichtenstein

M-Maybe c1965