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American artist Roy Fox Lichtenstein is renowned for his comic book inspired paintings. Alongside his peers Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, he was a leading figure in the Pop Art movement. Originating from a mix of Cubism, Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism, the course of Lichtenstein’s work changed, when his young son challenged him to ‘’paint as good’’ as the pictures in a Mickey Mouse comic book. This influenced his 1961 piece, ‘’Look Mickey’’, which was admired by adults and children alike. Lichtenstein became recognised for his hand painted large pictures, which resembled comic books in their employment of hard edges, flat bright colours and shading through dots.

Roy Lichtenstein’s most famous composition, ‘Whaam!’ (1963) mirrors a science fiction story. His ‘’Modern Art’’ series in 1966 reimagines artists paintings in comic book form. Continuing to explore other media such as collage, film, pencil drawings, sculptures, and prints, he attracted commissions for his distinctive style. His work portrays realistic commercial images of cars, business logos and public art work. Lichtenstein’s paintings have caused controversy and he has been abhorred by critics, who have referred to him as “the worst artist in America”. Yet his influence has extended to many artists, and his paintings have sold for as much as US$56 million. His oil and acrylic painting, Drowning Girl, drew on the story line of a comic book, “I’d rather sink…than call Brad for help!” and can be seen today at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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