US painter and sculptor and a leading exponent of pop art. He received the USA's National Medal of Art in 1993.
Lichtenstein was born in New York and began to study art there in 1939. He then moved to Ohio State University, but his studies were interrupted by service in the army and he did not graduate until 1949. In the 1950s Lichtenstein worked in Cleveland, Ohio, as a freelance commercial artist, painting at the same time in the abstract expressionist style. About 1957, after his return to New York to teach, he rejected the subjectivism of this style and began, like Claes Oldenburg, to use subjects from everyday life. His paintings were based on images from commercial art, such as cartoons from bubble-gum wrappers and pictures from advertisements and travel posters (Girl With a Ball, 1961). Some of his best-known works are blown-up pictures from comic strips (Whaam!, 1963). Though conscious of the crudity of these images, Lichtenstein intended no social comment and the paintings have high formal quality. His first one-man exhibition of work in this new pop art style was in 1962. During the 1960s he produced ceramics, including Dinnerware Objects, and also worked with enamel on steel; in his paintings he parodied earlier painters and familiar images, such as the likeness of George Washington. In 1977 he exhibited his first sculptures in bronze, again representing banal objects from everyday life. In the 1980s he produced still lifes influenced by such artists as Dali, Matisse, and Picasso.