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HomeUncategorizedHis Most Famous Painting (Whaam!) - Roy Lichtenstein

A popular American ‘Pop Artist’ Roy Fox Lichtenstein or Roy Lichtenstein (October 27, 1923 – September 29, 1997) was born in New York City in an upper middle class family. He went to public school until he was 12. Lichtenstein had a diverse career as a teacher, an artist, along with being an innovator. Although he was trained in both drawing and painting, a significant influence on his work was of comic books, cartoons, and popular advertising, basically the creative things that people did not regard as ‘serious’ art. Lichtenstein called his ‘Pop Art’ as, “not ‘American’ painting but actually industrial painting.” Lichtenstein’s early interest in art and design was more of a hobby. He was a jazz fan and would frequently make the portraits of musicians playing instruments. Following his graduation from school, Lichtenstein took summer classes in the Art Students League of New York. Later he joined the Ohio State University for studying Fine Arts, but could not complete his study on the account of a three-year (1943-46) spell in the army during and post World War II. His work during the early 1950s alternated between ‘Expressionism’ and ‘Cubism.’ Towards the late 1950s, Roy took to ‘Abstract Expressionism.’ Roy’s most famous and well-known creation is undoubtedly “Whaam!” (1963).

The inspiration behind “Whaam!” was a comic-book picture from ‘All American Men of War,’ published in 1962 by DC comics. The painting shows a rocket being fired by a fighter plane towards an enemy plane, along with a red-yellow explosion. To add interest, the painting has the onomatopoeic words “Whaam!” on it, along with the caption saying, “I pressed the fire control… and ahead of me rockets blazed through the sky…” “Whaam!,” a diptych, is a big painting, measuring 1.7 x 4.0 m (5 ft 7 in x 13 ft 4 in) and is presently displayed at Tate Modern in London, England.

Lichtenstein had the unique ability to create an extremely personalized painting from an already existing cartoon or advertisement. He had the knack of adapting & working upon original pictures and presenting intense emotional situations & scenes, quite impersonally, leaving the interpretation of the subject to the viewer. He therefore presented well-known pictures in a completely new light, capturing the world’s imagination. Apart from paintings, Lichtenstein also created sculptures in plastic & metal and a lot of screen-printing as well. Although a majority of his most famous creations is quite close to, although not strictly, the copies of panels from comic books, Lichtenstein broadly stopped working on this subject in 1965. But not before he had created amazing paintings depicting ‘Pop Art’ and his most famed creation, “Whaam!”


Source by Annette Labedzki

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