Born on the 23rd of October, 1923 in New York City, Roy Fox Lichtenstein was a famous painter, sculptor, and comic book artist who rose to fame for his portraits of vibrant pieces that featured Pop Art inspiration. Drawing heavily from the work of other comic book artists, he was able to become one of the best artists in the art genre. His most famous pieces include “Look Mickey”, “Woman With Flowered Hat”, and “Drowning Girl”. Despite initial disdain from the public and accusations of art plagiarism and mediocrity, Lichtenstein soon proved to the world that he was there to stay and make a name for himself. And that he most certainly did. To learn more about the father of pop art, here are 10 amazing facts about Roy Lichtenstein:
Fact 1: Although Roy Lichtenstein was famous for his vibrant renditions of pop art and sensational use of Ben Day style painting, he was often accused of copying comic book art right down to the tiniest detail. The painter denied this of course, and claimed that he made several tweaks and changes to the characters, even changing up the dots. Lichtenstein has also been called a mediocre painter and the master of the most basic painting techniques.
Fact 2: The painter rose to fame when his art work of every day modern pieces of home furniture and the like were featured in the news papers every week, showcasing vibrant designs and colors. He specialized in a technique called the Ben Day style, where he would fill in drawings with small dots. From a distance, they would look colored in. However, upon closer inspection you’ll find that these drawings were painted with tiny making up the surface.
Fact 3: He used the four primary colors that had the most color payoff in printers, namely White, Blue, Red, and Yellow. These colors would often appear in several of his comic books as well. Not only was he found of drawing and creating comics, but Roy Lichtenstein was also very skilled in the forms of media such as sculpture, murals, ceramics, and prints.
Fact 4: Roy Lichtenstein began his career as a Cubist artist, heavily influenced by Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. It wasn’t until later that his newfound love for comic books and cartoons became his new obsession. His later works showcase hidden cartoons within each piece.
Fact 5: It was his painting that he created in 1961 entitled “Look Mickey” that really marked his transition from being an Abstract Expressionism enthusiast to a Pop Art works one.
“look Mickey” wouldn’t have been made possible without the extra push from his son, when browsing through a Mickey Mouse comic said “I bet you can’t make something as good as that, eh, dad?”. The rest is history.
Fact 6: The painter created a film. Alongside American filmmaker Joel Freedman, Lichtenstein embarked on a project that had him produce “Three Landscapes”, which was a three-screen installation of a series of landscape collages. It took him two years to create the film, and though he originally intended to create 15 films, “Three Landscapes” was his only production within the medium.
Fact 7: Roy Lichtenstein’s highest grossing painting was his piece entitled “Woman With Flowered Hat”, garnering over 56.1 million dollars last May 2013. His piece was influenced by Picasso’s “Dora Maar au Chat” or “Dora Maar With Cat”. The latter sold for 95.2 million dollars and is listed as one of the most expensive paintings in the world.
Fact 8: Another of Lichtenstein’s prized pieces would be his “Drowning Girl” or “I Don’t Care! I’d Rather Sink” creation, which the world considers a masterpiece of melodrama. It features a crying woman with a thought bubble enveloped by waves with tears in her eyes, conveying the message that she would rather drown than call her lover Brad for help.
Fact 9: The painter was married twice in his lifetime, first to Isabel Wilson in 1949, and then again to a woman named Dorothy Herzka in 1965. According to his second wife, the painter adored women, and had more female friends than male ones. He often painted nude women and thought that women were always smarter than men.
Fact 10: He received an education from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. However, his college life was cut short when he was drafted and sent to Europe to serve in the army for World War I.