Roy Lichtenstein is best known for his comic book inspired artwork. The artist is a worldwide phenomenon and his work is loved by many who don’t hold a particular interest in art. In 2009, his 1964 work of enamel on steel, Crying Girl, could be seen as it came to life in the movie Night At the Museum 2.
Lichtenstein’s Artistic Development
When Lichtenstein started his career, Cubism and Expressionism were his main influences. Later, he experimented by creating works that were more Abstract Expressionist in nature. Interestingly enough, these Abstract Expressionistic paintings often had hidden images of popular cartoon characters in them.
After this phase, Lichtenstein went on to create works that would strongly influence the Pop art movement. Challenged by his sceptical son (who believed his father was unable to draw as good as the illustrators of his favorite books), he created the work, Look Mickey in 1961 from an illustration of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse fishing at a lake that he found in a Mickey Mouse comic book. Lichtenstein’s first solo show – that featured a variety of Pop art paintings – proved to be very successful and all the featured works sold out before the show ever opened.
During the first phase of Lichtenstein’s Pop art, works tended to depict everyday objects such as sneakers and hot dogs. This initial phase later developed, with some of his most celebrated works being created soon after.
In 1963 Lichtenstein stunned the world with paintings that were done after the style of comic book panels. Works such as Drowning Girl and Whaam! both saw the light in this phase Lichtenstein’s artistic ventures. Many might surprised to learn that some of these artworks initially received poor critical reviews. Lichtenstein was accused of being unoriginal, that he lacked authenticity, and that his works were merely copied images. But this wasn’t the case, as the artist almost always adapted the parodied images he created from comic books rather substantially.
Apart from his paintings from comic book strips, Lichtenstein also painted his own interpretations of famous works by artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso and Cézanne.
The artist was also reasonably prolific in producing sculptures and prints and many of his works can be seen at the Museum of Modern Art in New York city and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
The Meaning of Lichtenstein’s Artwork
The meaning of Lichtenstein’s work wasn’t always consistent throughout his career, as one could expect from an artist who didn’t create art only in one style. While the bulk of Lichtenstein’s most well-known artworks are focused on ideas held in popular culture, earlier artworks were built on ideas held by the movements such as Abstract Expressionism, with sub-conscious painting or a natural flow of ideas having taken the center-stage.
The piece Look Micky received very positive critical reviews, with critics interpreting the work in various ways. One suggestion was that the artist was poking fun at himself with the words, “Look Mickey, I’ve hooked a big one!!”, displayed in a speech balloon above Donald Duck’s head. Many have suggested that this refers the Lichtenstein himself, and that the “big one” means to say that the artist viewed his new artistic style and techniques as something to boast about.
Vertu’s Mission and Lichtenstein’s Artwork
Lichtenstein proved to be both an innovator and major influencer in the world of Pop art. His style and artwork have become synonymous with the movement and we are pleased with interest the artist’s work has received.
At our gallery in Boca Raton, we strive celebrate modern art and its creators. We love to collect and sell prints by artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, Henri Matisse and Salvador Dali (to name just a few). Feel free to come visit us at our gallery so that we can share our collection with you.