Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997
Roy Lichtenstein was not only a sophisticated and well-educated New Yorker with a Masters of Fine Arts degree, he was an educator who taught art at Ohio State and Rutgers.
He took a lot of heat in the 1960s for his mechanical style, his use of Ben-Day dots and comic book panels…the Pop art that changed the way art is viewed today. He turned “low art” into “high art” and tapped into the consumer culture of America in the ’60s. Lichtenstein had the last laugh, with an outstanding career. His 1962, Masterpiece, a tongue-in-cheek painting that reflected his career, sold in 2017 for $165 million.
Later in his career Lichtenstein began to create series of works whose subjects were more highbrow than comics, but still in his inimitable style. He reproduced paintings by European masters. He did a series of Brushstroke paintings that, like much of his work, was done ironically. “Although I had played with this idea before” he said, “it started with a comic book image of a mad artist crossing out, with a large brushstroke ‘X,’ the face of a friend that was haunting him. … Then I went on to do paintings of brushstroke alone. I was very interested in characterizing or caricaturing a brushstroke.”
Lichtenstein went on to do a series of Brushstroke sculptures, many in bronze, that contrast the flow of the brushstroke with the solidity of the metal.
A master printmaker, Lichtenstein also created fine art prints in woodcut, lithograph and even collage.
Many of Roy Lichtenstein’s works have been donated to the Whitney Museum. The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, headed by his widow, Dorothy Lichtenstein, who has supported art projects at the Whitney, the National Gallery in Washington and other venues around the country.
Benjamin Sutton. Over 400 Lichtensteins Go to the Whitney Museum and an Early van Gogh Sells for $8.3M. Hyperallergic. June 7, 2018.
Gianni Mercurio. Roy Lichtenstein: Meditations on Art. 2010.
Gagosian Quarterly. In Conversation with Dorothy Lichtenstein. Winter 2018.