Art History 101

7 Iconic Lichtenstein Works

Roy Lichtenstein is one of the most influential and celebrated artists in the twentieth century for his contributions to the Pop Art movement. His distinctive style altered the American art scene and continues to have tremendous influence. During his lifetime, Lichtenstein created over 5,000 paintings, prints, drawings, murals and sculptures.

To ring in Lichenstein’s birthday, we’ve gathered seven of his most iconic works. Comment below and tell us your favorite.


Roy Fox Lichtenstein was born on October 27, 1923, in New York City, to Milton and Beatrice Werner Lichtenstein. His father, Milton, was a successful real estate broker while his mother, Beatrice, was a homemaker and pianist who exposed Lichtenstein and his sister to the arts with regular visits to museums.

At the forefront of the Pop Art movement, Lichtenstein is associated with artists such as Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and Robert Rauchenburg, all of whom created works that fall within the realm of Pop Art. In terms of his signature style, he drew inspiration from comic strips and was influenced by advertising.

When Lichtenstein started teaching at Rutgers University in the sixties, he was heavily influenced by one of his colleagues, artist Allan Kaprow; it was during this time that he returned to his love of proto-pop imagery.

Our look at #Underdrawing has primarily focused on art made in the 15th and 16th centuries. Yet, modern and contemporary artists also use a variety of methods to plan and prepare final images. Sometimes we can see these preparatory stages in the final work without the aid of scientific instruments. In the early 1960s, Roy Lichtenstein quickly emerged as one of the most important artists in the new pop style. Abandoning the painterly mode of abstract expressionism, Lichtenstein and other pop artists appropriated images from popular sources such as comics and advertisements. “Look Mickey” represents the first time Roy Lichtenstein directly transposed a scene and a style from a source of popular culture, the 1960 children’s book “Donald Duck: Lost and Found.” Zoom in on “Look Mickey” with this link: http://bit.ly/LookMickey. Where can you spot Lichtenstein’s pencil underdrawing? Are there differences between his original sketch and the final painted image? #ArtAtoZ Roy Lichtenstein, “Look Mickey,” 1961, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Roy and Dorothy Lichtenstein in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art

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The Pop Art movement was driven in part by objects and visuals that were both ubiquitous and abstract in British and American culture; mundane objects were glorified and celebrated. Above, the work Look Mickey was painted in 1961, and initiated the trend of appropriating symbols prevalent in American culture with a slight satirical twist.

Drowning Girl

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One of Lichtenstein’s most famous works is Drowning Girl in which he meticulously paints ben-day dots in the likeness of a comic strip. This iconic work is a permanent fixture at MoMA in New York City.

Masterpiece

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It was hard to imagine how Lichtenstein predicted his own fame with the work titled Masterpiece (seen above), which he created in 1962. The artwork recently fetched a lofty $165M at auction, making it one of top ten most expensive artworks ever sold.

Whaam! Roy Lichtenstein, 1963. #lichtenstein #popart #arthistory

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Lastly, Whaam! a two-paneled painting is also considered to be one of Lichtenstein’s most influential paintings. This particular work was based on an image from All American Men of War, a comic book published by DC comics in 1962.


Interested in compelling contemporary artworks from emerging artists?  Check out our latest collection curated by Saatchi Art’s Chief Curator Rebecca Wilson.