Roy Lichtenstein re- engaged the artworld when he created paintings heavily inspired by print; bringing the Ben Day dot to the forefront of painted imagery. Lichtenstein quickly created iconic representations inspired by his experience flicking through advertisements and comics. Later, going on to create record breaking auction results both in public and private sales but, what are Hancock’s top ten on the seminal Pop artist?
1. Roy Lichtenstein works from 1960 onwards, depicting the trivialization of culture endemic in contemporary American life before that his works were abstract expressionist.
2. Lichtenstein used flat planes of colour and ben day dots to mirror advertisements through print.
3. When choosing cartoons to paint, Lichtenstein would look for visual impact and the texts impact wanting a universal message or completely meaningless one.
4. The aesthetic that Lichtenstein used to create from in the early 1960’s onwards was to create paintings that looked like printed imagery. He made brush strokes as few times as possible to not look textured or overworked, instead wanting the brush marks to look like the brush had only been there once.
5. Lichtenstein’s commercial twist within his work was highly controversial in 1964, with publications commenting on Lichtenstein as the “Worst Artist in the US”.
6. Lichtenstein worked through series’ quickly after changing styles from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art. In the first two years the artist created works depicting both comic strips and natural landscapes, despite the fact that Lichtenstein had always lived in the city and his experiences of landscapes were based on trips to Central Park.
7. Lichtenstein met both of his wives in gallery settings. His first wife Isabel Wilson in a group exhibition at the Ten-Thirty gallery. Then, the artist met his second wife Dorothy Herzka in 1964, whilst exhibiting works for the “Great American Supermarket” alongside Andy Warhol at Bianchini gallery in New York.
8. Lichtenstein invented a rotating easel and used mirrors to gain different perspectives of his work and re- sense the image, thinking of the image as more of pure mark rather than subject.
9. A critique of Lichtenstein was that he was copying imagery. However, throughout his career he insisted that his work was not about the subject. Instead, the artist would describe his intention - “I take a cliché and try to organize its forms to make it monumental. The difference is often not great, but it is crucial."
10. The Highest price reportedly paid for a Lichtenstein comes from the private sale of “Masterpiece” between Agned Gund and collector Steven Cohen where the price was $165 million.