Roy Lichtenstein

Biography

Picture Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein was born on 27 October 1923 into an upper-middle-class New York City family, and attended public school until the age of 12. He then enrolled at Manhattan's Franklin School for Boys, remaining there for his secondary education. Art was not included in the school's curriculum; Lichtenstein first became interested in art and design as a hobby. He was an avid jazz fan, often attending concerts at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. After graduation from Franklin, Lichtenstein enrolled in summer classes at the Art Students League of New York, where he worked under the tutelage of Reginald Marsh.
Lichtenstein then left New York to study at the Ohio State University which offered studio courses and a degree in fine arts. His studies were interrupted by a three year stint in the army during World War II and after between 1943 and 1946.
In 1951 Lichtenstein had his first one-man exhibition at Carlebach Gallery in New York. He moved to Cleveland in the same year, where he remained for six years, although frequently traveling back to New York. Undertaking jobs as varied as a draftsman to a window decorator in between periods of painting. His work at this time fluctuated between Cubism and Expressionism.
In 1957 he moved back to upstate New York and began teaching again. It was at this time that he adopted the Abstract Expressionism style, a late convert to this style of painting.
Lichtenstein began teaching in Upstate, New York at State University of New York at Oswego in 1958. However, the brutal upstate winters were taking a toll on him and his wife.
In 1960, he started teaching at Rutgers University where he was heavily influenced by Allan Kaprow, also a teacher at the University. This environment helped to reignite his interest in Proto-pop imagery. In 1961 Lichtenstein began his first Pop paintings using cartoon images and techniques derived from the appearance of commercial printing. This phase would continue to 1965 and included the use of advertising imagery suggesting consumerism and homemaking.
In September 1963 he took a leave of absence from his teaching position at Douglass College at Rutgers. It was at this time that Lichtenstein began to find fame not just in America but worldwide.
In the 1970s and 1980s, his work began to loosen and expand on what he had done before. He produced a series of "Artists Studios" which incorporated elements of his previous work.
In the late 1970s, this style was replaced with more surreal works such as Pow Wow (1979, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen).
In addition to paintings, he also made sculptures in metal and plastic including some notable public sculptures such as Lamp in St. Mary’s, Georgia in 1978, and over 300 prints, mostly in screenprinting.
His painting Torpedo...Los! sold at Christie's for $5.5 million in 1989, a record sum at the time, making him one of only three living artists to have attracted such huge sums.
In 1996 the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC became the largest single repository of the artist's work when he donated 154 prints and 2 books. In total there are some 4,500 works thought to be in circulation.
He died of pneumonia in 1997 at New York University Medical Center.

Solo exhibitions (Selected):

1999
Museo de Monterrey. Monterrey, Mexico
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Corcoran Gallery of Art. Washington DC
IVAM, Centre Julio Gonzales. Valencia, Spain

2000
Chiostro Del Bramante. Rome, Italy
Padigione d'Arte Contemporanea. Milan, Italy
Fundacao das Descobertas, Centro Cultural de Belem. Lisbon, Portugal
Kunstmuseum. Wolfsurg, Germany

2001
Mitchel-Innes and Nash. New York City
Gagosian Gallery. New York City
Fred Dorfman Gallery. New York City
Castelli Gallery. New York City
Museum of Contemporary Art. North Miami, Florida

2002
Corcoran Gallery of Art. Washington D.C.
Mitchell-Innes and Nash. New York City
Gagosian Gallery. Beverly Hills California

2003
Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue Washington
Louisiana Museum for Moderne Kunst, Humlebaek Denmark
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York NY
Roy Lichtenstein at City Hall, New York City

2004
Hayward Gallery , London
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid Spain
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
Hayward Gallery South Bank Centre, London England

2005
Gagosian Gallery,London, England
Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria
Gagosian Gallery Chelsea, New York NY
Mitchell-Innes & Nash Chelsea, New York NY
Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, Brazil
Museum of Abstract Art, Cuenca, Spain
Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey

2006
Museum of Contemporary Art, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon
Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba, Brazil
MAM (Museu de Arte Moderna), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Santa Fe Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington

2007
James Goodman Gallery, New York NY
Fundacion Juan March, Madrid, Spain
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis
Pinacothèque de Paris, Paris, France

For the latest exhibitions of the artist, please see the Appointments' Archive