Lichtenstein - Pop Artist.

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"Roy Lichtenstein was the master of the stereotype, and the most sophisticated of the major Pop artists in terms of his analysis of visual convention and his ironic exploitation of past styles. The work for which he is now known was the product of a long apprenticeship.

"He was born in New York City in October 1923. His parents were middle-class and he described himself as having had a quiet and uneventful childhood. Though art was not taught as part of the curriculum at his high school, in his junior year he started to draw and paint as a hobby. His first subjects were jazz musicians (the product of a youthful enthusiasm for their music), and his work was affected by  Blue and Rose Period paintings, which he knew from reproductions.

"In his last year of high school, 1939, he enrolled for summer art classes at the Art Students' League under . His subject-matter was then strongly influenced by Marsh's own work. On his graduation from high school, Lichtenstein decided to leave New York and study art. He went to the School of Fine Arts at Ohio State University, but his artistic education was interrupted by the war. He was drafted in 1943 and served in Britain and continental Europe. During his time in the services he was able to do some work as an artist, particularly drawing from nature. Demobilized in 1946, he returned immediately to Ohio State University and gained his Bachelor of Fine Art in June. He then joined the graduate programme, as an instructor. In 1949 he gained his Master of Fine Art and held his first one-man exhibition at the Ten Thirty Gallery in Cleveland. At this time he started to introduce broad references to Americana in his work: in 1951 he had a show in New York consisting largely of assemblages made of found objects. He moved to Cleveland and worked on and off as an engineering draughtsman for various companies while continuing to paint and intermittently show his work in New York. His earliest proto-Pop work was painted in 1956 - a picture of a dollar bill - but it had no immediate successor. From 1957 until 1960 his work could, broadly speaking, be classified as ; he had previously passed through Geometric Abstraction and a version of .

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"In 1960 Lichtenstein was appointed Assistant Professor at Douglas College at Rutgers University of New Jersey, which put him within striking distance of New York. He met and had long discussions with Allan Kaprow, and he also met Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Lucas Samaras and George Segal. He attended a number of early 'Happenings', but did not participate in them actively. These contacts revived his interest in Pop imagery, and a more immediate stimulus was provided by a challenge from one of his sons, who pointed to a Mickey Mouse comic book and said; 'I bet you can't paint as ...

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