Roy Lichtenstein was born October 27, 1923 in New York. At a young age, Lichtenstein developed an interest in drawing. While attending the Franklin School for Boys, Lichtenstein enrolled in Parsons School of Design and took watercolor classes on Saturdays. He continued to draw throughout high school, making watercolors of the country as well as paintings from live models. In 1940, Lichtenstein graduated from Franklin and began taking painting classes at the Art Students League. Dissatisfied with the classes, Lichtenstein transferred to Ohio State University. Due to the interruption of the war, he was not able to graduate until 1946, after which he began teaching at Ohio State.
By 1951, he had begun to exhibit his work in galleries throughout New York. In 1952, John Heller Gallery, New York, had a solo exhibition of Lichtenstein’s work. Lichtenstein continued to show in galleries in New York and Ohio over the next few years. In 1955, the Butler Museum of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, purchased one of Lichtenstein’s paintings.
After various teaching posts, Lichtenstein finally moved to Rutgers University where he meets Allan Kaprow, a fellow teacher. Heavily influenced by his presence, Lichtenstein revisited Proto-pop imagery. He began to use cartoon images and commercial printing techniques in 1961, creating a unique aesthetic with the visual vocabulary of popular art. Leo Castelli took notice of his work and began displaying it in 1961, giving him his first solo show just one year later. The entire show was sold out before opening, creating increasing interest and demand and prompting Lichtenstein to resign from Rutgers in 1964, moving to New York full time. Until 1965 he focused largely on reproductions of comic strips, closely copying panels to both critical acclaim and disdain. In the 1970s he became more retrospective, loosening his style and incorporating elements of his previous work into single scenes. Throughout his work he makes use of thick outlines, bright primary colors, and Ben-Day dots to represent his subjects.
Lichtenstein’s work is included in numerous museums, such as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Denver Art Museum, Denver; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Foundation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Roy Lichtenstein died September 29, 1997 in New York.