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Sunday, April 19, 2020

Roy Lichtenstein and comic strips


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Erhard Wehrmann

Photo license: CC BY-SA 3.0 DE


Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) was an American painter best known for his comic strip paintings and his contributions to pop art. Wikipedia says,


"[Lichtenstein's] most expensive piece is Masterpiece, which was sold for $165 million in January 2017... His most celebrated image is arguably Whaam!, one of the earliest known examples of pop art, adapted from a comic-book panel drawn by Irv Novick in a 1962 issue of DC Comics' All-American Men of War." (Wikipedia: Roy Lichtenstein, 6.30.21 UTC 12:18)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Lichtenstein.


Comic strips


"My work is actually different from comic strips in that every mark is really in a different place, however slight the difference seems to some. The difference is often not great, but it is crucial." (Interview with G. R. Swenson, What is Pop Art? 1963)


"I think my work is different from comic strip - but I wouldn't call it transformation... What I do is form, whereas the comic strip is not formed in the sense I'm using the word; the comics have shapes, but there has been no effort to make them intensely unified. The purpose is different, one intends to depict and I intend to unify." (Quoted in Movements In Art Since 1945 by Lucie-Smith and Hudson)


Pop art


"Everybody has called pop art, 'American' painting, but it's actually industrial painting. America was hit by industrialism and capitalism harder and sooner and its values see more askew... I think the meaning of my work is that it's industrial; it's what all the world will soon become." (Interview with G. R. Swenson, What is Pop Art? 1963)


"Pop Art looks out into the world." (Quoted in Painters on Painting by Eric Protter, 1971)




"Color is crucial in painting, but it is very hard to talk about. There is almost nothing you can say that holds up as a generalization, because it depends on too many factors: size, modulation, the rest of the field, a certain consistency that color has with forms, and the statement you're trying to make." (


"I kind of do the drawing with the painting in mind, but it's very hard to guess at a size or a color and all the colors around it and what it will really look like." (


"Use the worst color you can fit in each place - it usually is the best." (


"My work isn't about form. It's about seeing. I'm excited about seeing things, and I'm interested in the way I think other people see things." (




"The big tradition, I think, is unity... As long as the marks are related to one another, there is unity." (


"Organized perception is what is art all about... It is a process. It has nothing to do with any external form the painting takes, it has to do with a way of building a unified pattern of seeing..." (Interview with G. R. Swenson, What is Pop Art? 1963)