Roy Lichtenstein (eng. Roy Fox Lichtenstein;October 27, 1923, new York, USA — September 29, 1997, new York, USA) — American artist, one of the most influential figures of the pop art style. In the 60 years of the twentieth century began to create paintings based on images from magazines and comic books, which has achieved great popularity both in America and abroad. At the same time he began to write a series of omega — references to the paintings of famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse. In addition, different periods of art Liechtenstein creates sculptures with a pattern that simulates the raster printing.
Features of the artist Roy Lichtenstein: he painstakingly worked on each picture, based on the comics. The artist does not just copy the original image, it has changed the composition, added parts and significantly simplified the color scheme. He took the same colors used in his works Piet Mondrian: red, yellow, blue, black and white. The main feature of the work of Liechtenstein is an imitation of screen printing, a so — called «points of Ben-day».
Famous paintings by Roy Lichtenstein: «Whaam!», «Blam», «Drowning girl», «Look, Mickey», «In the car», «Yellow smear».
One day the son showed Roy Lichtenstein a page out of a comic book about Mickey mouse and asked: «Bet you can’t draw this well?» The artist easily accepted the challenge and wrote his first famous painting, «Look Mickey.» Since then, comics have become an integral part of his life and the Central motif of his work.
Worst artist of America
For his first work, which begins «comic» period in his work, Lichtenstein had chosen Mickey mouse. According to the artist, disney mouse was the way in which nobody would have thought to look for anything from high art, he is, in a sense, was its complete opposite. This, in fact, was the value of comics for Liechtenstein. They were the real personification of mass culture, and teenage culture. All these exaggerated explosions, onomatopoeia signatures and unrealistic characters as well as possible approached to the world of eternal teenagers with their maximalism. The culture of comics nobody even tried to treat seriously and look at the bright logs, some artistic merit. In fact, «culture of comics," his appearance is largely should be grateful to Liechtenstein. Very soon into use will include the term «graphic novel» and will be talking about the grim aesthetics of comics, Noir.
However, in contrast to primary sources, the work of Lichtenstein was subjected to much more severe criticism. In the early 60's, after many years of living in Ohio and new Jersey, he returned to his native new York and blows up the American cultural capital, his paintings flashy colors, flat-baked images potatoes, hot dogs, fryersand washing machines. His sudden increased popularity, the artist was indebted to the famous art dealer Leo Castelli, who in 1962 organized a personal exhibition of Liechtenstein. That by this time he was already a very popular figure in the artistic circles of new York, said the fact that a large part of the exhibited paintings was bought by influential collectors before it began.
Immediately after this exhibition on the Liechtenstein barrage of accusations of vulgarity and «emptiness». Life magazine even called him the worst painter of America. In response to all the attacks Liechtenstein remained silent, and gave a return interview, defending his point of view on their own paintings and art in General. In addition, Liechtenstein was accused that he mindlessly copy things out of magazines, not creating anything fundamentally new. He repeatedly claimed that exposes each selected image «fundamental transformation, but it is difficult to prove by any rational argument».
Of Liechtenstein has been under attack not only from art critics. As you can guess, he fell into disfavor and comic book writers. When painting «I can see the whole room… but there is no one!«was exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, William Overgard, the author of the comic strip «Steve Roper» from which Lichtenstein borrowed the original picture, wrote a petulant letter to the newspaper. Overgard wrote that infinitely glad that his work is exhibited in the Museum, here she’s not only signed his name, and Liechtenstein it is hopelessly ruined. The artist once again appeared in the scandal center. Turned against Liechtenstein and Warhol(which is also portrayed Mickey Mouseand Donald duck), authors of the comics said that if they can shamelessly steal their work, they can in return create your own pop art. The exhibition was organized, which offended graphs collected from jars soup «Campbell»and boxes with washing powder. As expected, the exhibition was a failure, and she did not like even the creators of comics. In all likelihood, at some point, they realized what is the fundamental difference between their works and the paintings of pop artists: the representatives of pop art did not copy blindly the reality, but in their usual manner — often cold and distant — has expressed its attitude to popular culture via its most striking images. Anyway, no Overcard or other authors in the end decided not to start any proceedings about copyright.
Versatility and experimentation
Roy Lichtenstein was born in new York on 27 October 1923 into a family with German-Jewish roots. The son of a Builder and housewife from childhood showed an interest in art, but one painting was not enough. He heard the sci-Fi broadcasts on the radio, building model airplanes and spent hours wandering the Museum of natural history. Teenager Roy attended courses in watercolor, and in high school put together his own jazz band.
By 1940 Roy had finally decided who he wants to be in the future, and began to study painting at the Reginald Marshat the Art students League. Then Liechtenstein writes his first paintings in the style of social realism. Later in the same year he enrolled at the Ohio state University, where in addition to drawing and design studied botany, history, and literature. At this time the style of his work changed: he painted portraits and still lifes, in which clearly seen the influence Pablo Picassoand Georges Braque.
Very soon, the world was hit by the war, and Liechtenstein decided to interrupt their studies to serve their country. In preparation for the service, he studied languages, visited the engineering and flight training. But in the army of Liechtenstein for the most part engaged in the work of the Secretary and draftsman, copy images from the army newspaper. Retirement the artist received in 1946, before he could visit France, England, Belgium and Germany. After that, he returned to University, received a bachelor’s degree and remained at the University for another ten years as a teacher.
In all probability, during his service in the army, Lichtenstein dreamed of becoming a pilot, and, according to some critics, this is reflected in his later works based on comics. You can pay attention to the fact that in his paintings he never used fantastic and «superhero» comics, which were especially popular at that time. Many of the works of Liechtenstein is created on the basis of a series of «All American Man of War», in particular, a recurring motif of the crash (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). As for his post-war paintings, in which, despite the seriality of the subjects, the artist does not stay for too long in one style. After animalistic sculpture, portraits and still lifes, he experimented with expressionism and biomorphic surrealism. Later Lichtenstein, whose works have already started to exhibit in galleries, portraits of musicians, road crew and riders in the spirit of movies Paul Klee.
In one of the Cleveland galleries, the artist met his future wife Isabel Wilson. In 1951 in new York held his first solo exhibition, and later in the same year he moved to Cleveland and began to write portraits of cowboys and native Americans, earning a living engineering and drawing work. At the same time, Lichenstein creates a unique rotating easel that allowed him to rotate the canvas while working to obtain the ability to write from any angle. About his invention, the artist, inspired by the new way of working, said: «I create my paintings upside down or turning them to the side. Often I don’t even remember what they are. My attention clings not the plot».
Roy and Isabel divorced shortly after the birth of her second son. The artist for a time settled in new Jersey, enrolling to a position of lecturer at Rutgers University, and then finally moved to new York, where he lived until the end of his days. However, in 1960, in new-Jersey, Liechtenstein time to meet the man that influenced all his future work. This man was the artist Allan Kaprowbeing named one of the forerunners of pop art. Shortly after meeting him, the Liechtenstein write «Look Mickey."
Not a single comic
Despite the fact that made Lichtenstein paintings based on comic books, the period in which he wrote them, did not last ten years. In the second half of the 60s, the artist began to turn to new stories and images, always using as a «business card» imitation of printed raster — dots «Ben-day».
On a point background, he writes his famous giant leaf with «printed» thick brush strokes of paint (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Its unique design copies Picasso, Mondrianand Van Goghpaints pictures with references to Matisse, Daliand de Chirico. With the help of dots, black lines and the same set of colors Liechtenstein creates landscapes, portraitsand interiors.
Individual attention of the artist’s work devoted to glass and mirrors. The first one can be called «Magnifying glass«written in 1963, and in the 70s he wrote a series of mirrors and glass glasses, miraculously managing to convey the depth and play of light with one set of expressive means (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
In 1978 Lichtenstein creates his most the famous self-portrait: blank white t-shirt unknown brand, over in the place of the head hanging in the air as empty mirror. In this, perhaps, is the essence of pop art: the artist processes the images of splashing out on a canvas inner experiences, as it was in the era abstract expressionismbut merely reflects the fact that demonstrates his company.
Author: Eugene Sidelnikov