Roy Lichtenstein

United States of America  1923–1997

Roy Lichtenstein was born on 27 October 1923 in New York City. He attended classes at the Art Students League, New York, in 1940, and from 1940 to 1942 studied at the School of Fine Arts, Ohio State University, until drafted into the army. He resumed his studies in 1946, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in 1949. His first solo exhibition was at the Carlbach Gallery, New York, in 1951. In 1957 he began teaching at the State University of New York in Oswego and in 1960 was appointed assistant lecturer at Douglass College, Rutgers University, New York. At Rutgers Lichtenstein met several initiators of Pop Art, including Allan Kaprow, Jim Dine and George Segal. In early 1961 he began paintings of everyday objects based on advertising and cartoon imagery, and showed these for the first time at the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, in 1962. In 1963 his work was shown at the Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles, and Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris, and the success of these exhibitions encouraged Lichtenstein to leave teaching in 1964 and become a full-time painter.

The late 1960s saw several museum exhibitions of Lichtenstein’s work, at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1966, the Pasadena Art Museum in 1967, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1969. In 1970 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in that year moved to South Hampton, Long Island. Lichtenstein became a prolific printmaker and editioned many multiples. An exhibition of his work from the 1970s which toured American museums was organised by the Saint Louis Art Museum in 1981, and in 1987 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, organised a large retrospective of his drawings. A major retrospective was held in 1993–94 at the Guggenheim, New York, and shown in North America and Europe. Lichtenstein died in New York on 29 September 1997. Another retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Tate, London and Centre Pompidou, Paris, took place in 2012–13.

See more works by this artist in the NGA collection

Roy Lichtenstein Kitchen range 1961-62 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/Copyright Agency Purchased 1978 Learn more

Roy Lichtenstein Crak! 1963-64 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/Copyright Agency Purchased 1996 Learn more

Roy Lichtenstein Shipboard girl 1965 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/Copyright Agency Felix Man Collection, Special Government Grant 1972 Learn more