Roy Lichtenstein was one of the most influential and innovative artists of the second half of the twentieth century. He is preeminently identified with Pop Art, a movement he helped originate, and his first fully achieved paintings were based on imagery from comic strips and advertisements rendered in a style mimicking the printing processes of newspaper reproduction. These paintings reinvigorated the American art scene and altered the history of modern art. Lichtenstein’s success was matched by his focus and energy, and after his first successes in the early 1960s, he went on to create an oeuvre of more than 5,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, murals and objects.
In the late 1960s his work became less narrative and more abstract, as he continued to meditate on the nature of the art enterprise itself. He began to explore and deconstruct the notion of brushstrokes—the building blocks of Western painting. Brushstrokes are conventionally conceived as vehicles of expression, but Lichtenstein made them into the subject of the artwork. Modern artists have typically maintained that the subject of a painting is painting itself. Lichtenstein took this idea one imaginative step further: a compositional element could serve as the subject matter of a work.