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Roy
Lichtenstein

Bringing comic books and advertisements into the realm of ‘high art’, Roy Lichtenstein is considered one of the founding figures of Pop Art. If you are looking to buy or sell a Lichtenstein original print or edition, browse artwork available from our network and enquire to speak to the team. We offer free and confidential valuations and market advice on any Lichtenstein print, with zero obligation to sell.

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Biography

A key pillar of the Pop Art movement, Roy Lichtenstein's works redefined Contemporary art through their signature comic-book and advertisement inspired language. Lichtenstein's distinctive artistic style, inspired by comic books, advertising and consumerism in post-war America, remains powerfully relevant today.

Born in New York on 27 October 1923, Lichtenstein developed a lifelong love of jazz and art after visiting museums and concerts with his mother and younger sister. He studied painting and drawing under American painter Reginald Marsh and later enrolled at Ohio State University, where he trained as a classical painter. After serving briefly in the US army, Lichtenstein went on to teach at Ohio State University. Although exhibited his works throughout the 1950s, he struggled to find his style.

Lichtenstein's breakthrough moment came in 1961, when he made his first Pop Art work, Look Mickey, at 37 years old. An iconic Lichtenstein artwork, the painting was based on an illustration from the book Donald Duck Lost And Found, owned by one of Lichtenstein’s sons. It marked the first time Lichtenstein fused painting with pop culture. He would later remember the direction as 'brave, risky and so far from anything I’d been taught in art schools. It was saying something about real life, and it wasn’t done as a joke. But I knew that it couldn’t be taken seriously.'

'Is he the worst artist in America?' asked a Life magazine article about Lichtenstein in 1964. Nonetheless, the artist was enjoying critical acclaim – not just in the United States but worldwide – alongside his contemporaries Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Claes Oldenburg. Lichtenstein’s most famous works include Whaam!, Drowning Girl and Crying Girl – all of which are underscored with parody and satire, transforming mainstream motifs and clichés into works of art. 'Pop Art looks out into the world. It doesn't look like a painting of something, it looks like the thing itself,' he said. The way he has blurred the distinction between popular culture and so-called high art has paved the way for artists like KAWS and Takashi Murakami today.

Lichtenstein’s work includes more than 5,000 paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures, now housed in the world’s most prestigious institutions and collections – including the Tate Modern in London, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Nurse by Roy Lichtenstein

Nurse © Roy Lichtenstein 1964

1. £63.4M for Roy Lichtenstein's Nurse

Featuring Lichtenstein’s iconic bold colours, Ben-Day dots and comic-book theme, Nurse set the world auction record for the artist when it sold in Christie’s The Artist’s Muse auction in New York on 9 November 2015. Painted in 1964 – at the height of Lichtenstein’s career – Nurse was first bought by the advertising executive Leon Kraushar, who assembled one of the greatest collections of Pop Art ever known, before it was acquired industrialist Karl Ströher, whose family owned the Wella haircare brand.

Woman With Flowered Hat by Roy Lichtenstein

Woman With Flowered Hat © Roy Lichtenstein 1963

2. £36.7M for Roy Lichtenstein's Woman With Flowered Hat

Between 1962–63, Lichtenstein created four paintings inspired by the works of Pablo PicassoWoman With Flowered Hat was the last in this series. Unlike the Picasso version, however, Lichtenstein changed the woman’s hair from brown to blonde. “The Picasso is converted to my pseudo-cartoon style and takes on a character of its own,” the artist had said. The work sold at Christie’s in New York on 15 May 2013 in a bidding battle lasting almost six minutes.

Nude With Joyous Painting by Roy Lichtenstein

Nude With Joyous Painting © Roy Lichtenstein 1994

3. £36.6M for Roy Lichtenstein's Nude With Joyous Painting

On 10 July 2020, Lichtenstein’s Nude With Joyous Painting established its place in the artist’s top three works at auction when it became the most expensive lot in Christie’s ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century.

Bids came in from New York, Hong Kong and over the telephone, with the work finally selling after 10 minutes of intense bidding. The painting, created in the last years of Lichtenstein’s life, is considered the most important work in the artist’s last, great series of nudes. Even artist Jeff Koons agreed that “the later women paintings and nudes that Roy did are just absolutely gorgeous”.

Sleeping Girl by Roy Lichtenstein

Sleeping Girl © Roy Lichtenstein 1964