After World War ll many American artists found themselves in a world of new consumerism and were able to find work as commercial illustrators, designers and even billboard creators. Some of them, like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol became notable Pop artists, whose works are still relevant today.
Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997
Roy Lichtenstein was born and raised in Manhattan, into a family that nurtured his appreciation of art and music.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and served in Europe, where he hoped to stay and study art at the Sorbonne. Sadly, Lichtenstein’s father became ill and he had to return to the States.
Lichtenstein received his BFA and MFA from Ohio State and taught there until 1951 and then at the State University of New York at Oswego.
His painterly technique, combined with his use of mass produced comic book cells, masked the distinction between mass reproduction and high art.
Lichtenstein’s works are currently on display at the Musée des Beaux-Arts Mons in Mons, Belgium. An exhibit titled Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making 1948-1960 is currently on display at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine. It will travel to the Parrish Art Museum, in Water Mill, Long Island, New York, then to the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio before its final stop at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina from August 2022 through January 2023.
Closer to home, an exhibit of Lichtenstein’s take on Monet’s work, called Roy Lichtenstein: Monet’s Garden Goes Pop will be on display at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Museum of Botany & the Arts in Sarasota from February 13 through June 27, 2021.
Andy Warhol 1928-1987
Andy Warhol received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1949. He had planned to teach art, but moved to New York, where he became one of the most successful and highly paid commercial illustrators in the city.
Like Lichtenstein, Warhol tapped into the idea of combining commerce with high art.
Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein belonged to an exclusive group of artists that influential New York art dealer, Leo Castelli, chose to represent. In 1967, Warhol created Portraits of the Artists, a work that includes portraits of ten artists that Castelli represented. Lichtenstein and Warhol collected each others works, but their relationship was more of a rivalry than a friendship.
Portraits of the Artists repeats a portrait of each artist ten times, in ten colors, in 2 x 2 inch, 3-D polystyrene boxes. The artists in the work are Lee Bontecou, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Morris, Larry Poons, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol himself.
Warhol’s legacy is not just his work, but the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The Foundation has announced its latest round of grants, which will distribute $3.9 million to 50 creative organizations in the U.S. that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Francoise Mouly. David Hockney’s “Hearth”. The New Yorker. December 14, 2020.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens to Showcase Pop Art Icon Roy Lichtenstein’s Take on Monet’s Garden. ArtfixDaily. January 12, 2021.
Jasmine Weber. Warhol Foundation Distributes $3.9 Million to 51 Organizations Grappling With Pandemic Losses. Hyperallergic. January 13, 2021.