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ARTIST INDEX: Roy Lichtenstein

"I like to pretend that my art has nothing to do with me" - Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein, In the Car (1963), oil and magna on canvas, 67.75 in × 80.125 in, Courtesy of the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Artist Biography

Roy Lichtenstein (b. Oct. 27, 1923 in New York, New York) was an American painter and lithographer.

Known for his comic strip-style artwork, Lichtenstein's mastery of incorporating "low art" (e.g. comic books) into painting cemented his name as one of the icons of Pop Art. While Lichtenstein and his peer, Andy Warhol, were two of the biggest names in the genre, the former was an innovator of Pop Art in America.

As a New York native, Lichtenstein grew up in the Upper West Side with a younger sister. His father was a real estate broker while his mother was a homemaker. Since his mother did not work, she often took Lichtenstein and his sister to museums and concerts. As a teenager the artist took countless trips to the Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History, where he found inspiration to paint, sculpt and draw. He took painting courses at the Art Students League in New York and later studied drawing and design at Ohio State University.

Roy Lichtenstein, Goldfish Bowl (1977), painted and patinaed bronze, 77 x 25 x 18 in., Courtesy of Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Although Lichtenstein broke through in the 1960s, he tried to separate himself from the comic book style that he was best known for by painting over bronze sculptures and producing murals during the 1970's and 1980's. In 1997, he died of pneumonia.

Auction Results

Although Lichtenstein passed away, his artwork still remains popular. According to Art Price, he is ranked at #28 with 536 lots sold in 2016. In addition, Lichtenstein's work earned a turnover of at least $47.5 million. In 2015, Sotheby's sold The Ring (Engagement) (1962) for $41.6 million. Previously, Christie's sold Lichtenstein's I Can See the Whole Room!....and There's Nobody In It (1961) for more than $43 million in 2011.

Roy Lichtenstein, The Ring (Engagement) (1962), oil on canvas, 48 1/4 x 70 in, Courtesy of Sotheby's

Roy Lichtenstein, I Can See the Whole Room!...and Nobody's In It (1961), oil on canvas, Courtesy of Associated Press

Current Works on Sale

Roy Lichtenstein, Turkey Shopping Bag (1964), silkscreen on paper, 19 5/8 x 17 in., ed. of 200, in VINCE fine arts/ephemera, Miami

Roy Lichtenstein, Water Lilies Tapestry (Study) (1995), graphite and colored pencil on paper, 8 x 13 1/10 in, in Phillips Auction House, New York

Roy Lichtenstein, Hand and Foot (1964), lithograph, 17 x 21 inches, ed. of 300, in Hamilton-Selway Fine Art, Los Angeles

Roy Lichtenstein, Shipboard Girl (1965), 26 1/10 x 19 1/5 in, in Galerie Thalberg, Zurich

Roy Lichtenstein, Green Face (1989), lithograph, 58 3/4 x 40 7/8 in, in Robin Rile Fine Art, Miami

Roy Lichtenstein, Girl at the Piano (1994), silkscreen, 54 x 38 in, in Gallery Shchukin, New York

Selected Past Shows

Roy Lichtenstein, Museum of Contemporary Art: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 1994

Roy Lichtenstein: Reflections/Riflessi, Chiostro del Bramante, Rome, IT, 2000

Roy Lichtenstein: Early Black and White Paintings, Gagosian Gallery Madison Avenue, New York City, NY, 2001

Roy Lichtenstein: Sculpture on the Roof, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, 2003

Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, Tate Modern, London, UK, 2013

Current and Upcoming Exhibits

Roy Lichtenstein in Focus, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, March 3 to July 31, 2017

American Dream: Pop to the Present, The British Museum, London, UK, March 9 to June 18, 2017

Young America: Roy Lichtenstein and the America's Cup, Middleburg College Museum of Art, Middlebury, VT, May 26 to Aug. 13, 2017


  • Pablo Picasso's Guernica was his favorite painting

  • Lichtenstein served the army from 1943 to 1945

  • He taught industrial design at the State University of New York in Oswego

  • Lichtenstein spent at least 10 hours in the studio everyday

  • He briefly worked as a window display designer for a department store

  • He once exhibited his painting of a laughing woman at the New York State Pavilion for the World's Fair in 1964

  • His sculptures were commissioned in Singapore, Miami, Paris, Columbus and Barcelona

  • None of his black outlines defied monochromatic tones in order to heighten the abstract quality of his paintings and sculptures

"I'm not really sure what social message my art carries, if any. And I really don't want it to carry one. I'm not interested in the subject matter to try to teach society anything or try to better our world in any way" - Roy Lichtenstein


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