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Pop artist Roy Fox Lichtenstein was born in Manhattan in 1923. Lichtenstein had an uneventful childhood, but drawing and design were actively encouraged by his parents. In 1940, he left New York to study at the School of Fine Arts at Ohio State University (of all places). However, Lichtenstein's education was disrupted by WWII. Drafted into the army in 1943, Lichtenstein served in England and Europe, returning to the US in 1946 to complete his Masters in Fine Art.
During the early 1950s the artist worked as a draughtsman whilst submitting work to exhibitions without much success. After meeting the pop art pioneers Claes Oldenburg and Jim Dine through teaching at Rutgers University, Roy Lichtenstein created the cartoon-strip style paintings that would becom his trademark, such as 'Whaam!', with its exaggerated printed dots, loud lettering and violently coloured explosions.
Heavily influenced by the prevailing aesthetics of advertising at the time, Lichtenstein's tongue-in-cheek style often serves as a social comment on the changing nature of American society at the time. In 'Masterpiece' (1962), we see the changing relationship between the sexes, where the driver with the all-American name of Brad, is exposed to the barely-concealed sarcasm of his female companion.
Lichtenstein's style became less frenetic in the late 1970s and the explosive scenes were later replaced with more surreal ones. Like many American artists of his generation, he undertook corporate work, with his last major project being the design of The DreamWorks Records logo, completed before his death in 1997.
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