Comics as inspiration
We can see the music in his art and never feel silent. We sense a morning energetic feeling and a childish inventing bubbly mind. Roy Lichtenstein is an absolute reference of American Pop Art and XX Century Art. A great jazz passionate, he played piano and clarinet in Manhattan nightspots. Together with Andy Warhol, this true New Yorker (1923–1997), invented Pop Art.
His sparkling paintings were inspired by imagery from comic strips and advertisements, in a style mimicking the printing newspaper reproduction process. They reinvigorated the American art scene altering the history of modern art. His early artistic idols were Rembrandt and Daumier. With only 18 he was drafted by American Infantry and sent to World War in Europe (1945). He fought in France, Belgium and Germany and made war sketches. When peace came, he intended to study at Paris Sorbonne but his father was gravely ill and he returned home.
His first intimate paintings were in the vein of Paul Klee. From landscapes he evolved into huge pop faces reminders of cheerful teenage days. He honoured his admired idols Matisse and Picasso and “Guernica” was his favourite painting. Lichtenstein created high- spirited paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures filled with witty humour.
Lichtenstein expanded his palette beyond red, blue, yellow, black, white and green, inventing and combining forms. He was not merely isolating found images but juxtaposing, overlapping, fragmenting and recomposing them. His virtuosic compositions are a rich dialogue of forms, intuitively modified and released from their original sources.
His entire panoply of works were complex encounters with Cubism, Surrealism, Futurism, Purism, and Expressionism. Reinterpreting these styles as chewing gum, he created impressive fizzy works of great visual power.
Tate Liverpool Museum, England, Amsterdam MOCO-Contemporary Museum, Museum of the City of New York.