Raised in a wealthy middle-class family in New York, Roy Lichtenstein's childhood was quiet and anonymous, and he was driven by a strong interest in drawing. In 1940, the artist went to university to study Fine Art, but had to leave three years later to serve in the army, during and after the Second World War. The military world would in fact make an appearance in his future work. After obtaining his degree in 1949, Lichtenstein became an art teacher, while also starting to produce large-scale paintings.
It was in 1962 that the artist's career really took off: brought together for the first time in an exhibiton, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselmann and James Rosenquist began to be noticed. In the same year, all the paintings from his first solo exhibition were bought by influential collectors before the show had even opened. This was the pop era, the rise of colour advertising and the heyday for consumerism.
Roy Lichtenstein represented the American dream with a touch of irony, making fun of American symbols and myths, using a style of drawing seen in the cartoons that inspired him, combined with the traditional technique of oil painting. In fact, when his first work was shown, some of the critics questioned the originality of his work.
Roy Lichtenstein's art remains one of the most original expressions of post-war American culture, and his work is represented in the most important museums and galleries around the world.