1995Arts and PhilosophyArts (Painting, Sculpture, Craft, Architecture, Photography, Design, etc.)
Roy Lichtenstein photo

Roy Lichtenstein

  • U.S.A. / 1923-1997
  • Artist

A Painter Whose Pop-Art Motifs Continuously Challenged Established Concepts of Art Its Role in Modern Society

An artist, who through his original mode of expression, has had a considerable influence on contemporary fine art for more than 30 years, since he rose to fame in 1960s as a flag-bearer for pop art. He has given the world many magnificent works of art: works that ask poignant questions of the essence of expressive art and its role in society.
*This category then was Category of Creative Arts and Moral Sciences.
*This field then was Field of Arts (Painting, Sculpture).


Brief Biography

Born in New York City, U.S.A.
Art Students League, New York
Ohio State University, Columbus
M.F.A. Ohio State University
Assistant Professor at Douglas College, Rutgers University, New Jersey
Set up a studio on Washington Street, New York City

Selected Awards and Honors

First one-man show in Manhattan at Carleback Gallery, New York
First show at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
Retrospective exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York
Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Science, New York
Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Southampton College, New York
Exhibition of works of 1970-1980 at the Saint Louis Art Museum
Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Ohio State University
Brandeis University's Creative Arts Award
Retrospective survey at the Guggenheim Museum, New York

Major Works


Look Mickey“, “Girl with Ball


Girl with a Hair Ribbon


First “Brushstroke” Painting


Mirrors“, “Pyramid


Barcelona Head” Monument for the Summer Olympics in Barcelona


Tokyo Brushstroke I-II”, Shinjuku Island, Japan


A Painter Whose Pop-Art Motifs Continuously Challenged Established Concepts of Art Its Role in Modern Society

In a career spanning more than 30 years since his emergence as a standard-bearer of pop art in the 1960’s, Mr. Roy Lichtenstein has continuously exercised great influence on art through his original method of expression and has produced many outstanding works which have sharply reexamined the very fundamentals of art and its role in society.

Mr. Lichtenstein’s early works, based on the remarkable idea of using enlarged images taken from comic strips and supermarket advertisements, catapulated him to fame, and he soon came to be counted as one of the most influential artists in pop art circles. His first work which incorporated the popular image of Mickey Mouse, had a major impact on the art world of the day and is now considered to be a work of historical significance. In his early pop art works, he deliberately selected familiar everyday images, and by enhancing and enlarging them succeeded in astutely illustrating the fundamental nature of American consumer society, characterized by popularity and anonymity. The works are, therefore, extremely important from a social standpoint as well. Indeed, one of the basic roles of art is to serve as a mirror of its times by portraying society in condensed form.

Mr. Lichtenstein’s remarkable powers of expression can be seen clearly in the cheerful appeal of his early works, proof that even everyday images can be transfigured into works of art. His magnified pointillism and hatching techniques and his strong outlines, together with a palette limited to red, yellow, blue, black, white, and green, give his works their unique quality. As a result, he has made it possible for art to be understood and enjoyed by the general populace instead of only an elite few.

Later Mr. Lichtenstein reinterpreted the works of great masters both past and present, artists such as Monet, Picasso, and Matisse. He produced a series which reexamined the basic concepts of the visual arts, such as Brushstrokes and Mirror and also recreated architectural motifs and decorative patterns in the form of paintings. He has continued to unveil a wide variety of works, all of which consistently question and probe. These works have created a world which exudes a totally new meaning and expression, even though they incorporate only well-known themes. His simple and distinct style is expressed not only in paintings but also in sculpture and murals. All his works are full of creativity and originality: bright, strong expressions which have given great pleasure to many.

Through the medium of pop art, the most important art movement of the 20th century, Mr. Roy Lichtenstein has given art to the masses, enabling anyone and everyone to enjoy it. To this day he continues to stimulate the art world, and is thus most worthy of the 1995 Kyoto Prize for Creative Arts and Moral Sciences in the field of arts.


Abstract of the Lecture

A Review of My Work since 1961

In this slide presentation I hope to point out some of the progression of ideas in my work and show how one thing led to another, if one thing did, indeed, lead to another. Also I’d like to tell you of some of the meanings I intend to convey.

This presentation starts with drawings of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse done in 1958. The reason I’m showing these drawings rather than a painting is because the paintings I did in this style no longer exist.

Next is the first Pop painting I did in 1961 called “Look Mickey”, and I’d like to discuss some of my reasons and aims for referring to cartoons as the subjects for my work, as well as the simplification of my colors and the use various dotting (pointillism) techniques.

I would then like to show a group of paintings of single objects that I did around 1964, specifically “Turkey”, “Golf Ball” and “Composition”; a number of paintings which I did starting in 1963, in which I took works by various famous modern masters like Picasso and used them as my subjects; and then a series of Brushstroke Paintings that I started in 1965.

Following that I’d like to introduce a series showing the relationship between my geometric painting of the seventies and minimal art, examples of paintings with the subjects taken from Matisse, as well as my own past works, surrealistic paintings done during the latter half of the seventies, and paintings done in the French trope l’oeil style. After discussing the techniques I took from the cubism, futurism and expressionism schools, I’d like to end up by talking about my interior series of the nineties and my most recent works.

From the more than 50 slides spanning the years from the 1960s to the present and the explanation of the meanings I have tried to convey, I hope that you have gained an understanding of the transition of ideas in my work and the association of each individual painting.

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Full Text(PDF)


Painting and Comic-strip - Some Problems of Pop-art

Sunday, November 12, 1995
Kyoto International Conference Hall
Shigenobu Kimura Chairman, the Kyoto Prize Screening Committee in Creative Arts and Moral Sciences; Director, National Museum of Art, Osaka


Opening Remarks Shigenobu Kimura
Greetings Toyomi Inamori
Managing Director, The Inamori Foundation
Greetings Shuji Takashina
Chairman, the Kyoto Prize Committee in Creative Arts and Moral Sciences
Director, National Musiam of Western Art, Tokyo
Introduction of Laureate Shigenobu Kimura
Commemorative Lecture Mr. Roy Lichtenstein - Laureate in Creative Arts and Moral Sciences
"About Art"
Video "The World of Lichtenstein"
Forum "Painting and Comic-strip - Some Problems of Pop-art"

Shigenobu Kimura
Roy Lichtenstein
Shuji Takashina
Kunio Motoe, Member, the Kyoto Prize Screening Committee in Creative Arts and Moral Sciences
Chier Curator, Department of Fine Arts, The National Museum of Art, Tokyo
Kunio Yamaguchi
Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
Closing Shigenobu Kimura
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