CMA Blog

12 for 12: Roy Lichtenstein

For the next in our 12 for 12 Columbus Bicentennial series honoring Columbus artists from our permanent collection, we highlight OSU graduate, teacher and Pop Art sensation Roy Lichtenstein.

Roy Lichtenstein was a well-renowned American painter, sculptor and printmaker whose work was heavily influenced by advertising and comics. Lichtenstein attended the Ohio State University earning his BFA in 1951, then set off for Cleveland to work as an art teacher. By the early 1960s Lichtenstein gave up teaching to paint full-time and, WHAM!, become a defining member of the Pop Art Movement.

Lichtenstein drew from comic book themes such as passion, romance, science-fiction, violence and war, and used commercial art methods to create his signature Ben-day dot paintings. Lichtenstein also explored a a variety of historical art periods and transformed other artist’s works such as Pablo Picasso, Gilbert Stuart and Claude Monet. “These rank among the best experiments by any artist in blurring the distinction between high and low art. Lichtenstein is one of the few artists able to be ironic and exuberant at the same time, and nowhere do you feel this more than in his paintings that tweak the history of art,” said Paul Goldberger in Vanity Fair.  Currently The Art Institute of Chicago has a large Lichtenstein retrospective consisting of about 160 of Lichtenstein’s work on display. 

Lichtenstein’s sculpture Brushstrokes in Flight welcomes visitors to Columbus at Port Columbus International Airport.

Interesting Lichtenstein Facts:
•    Lichtenstein used to hide cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny, in some of his early paintings.
•    In 1944, Lichtenstein designed a painting for the hull of the United States entry in the America’s Cup yacht race

(Above: Roy Lichtenstein, Modern Head #2 from the CMA permanent collection.)

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About Jennifer Poleon

CMA's Digital Communications Manager, writer, artist, traveler, film fanatic and local foods lover, former magazine editor turned arts professional, and creator of the CMA Photo Hunt Project
Posted in 12 for 12

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