26 February - 16 May 2004
Roy Lichtenstein is a key figure in modern art and, alongside Andy Warhol, one of the ‘twin pillars’ of American Pop Art.
He shot to fame in the early 1960s with his paintings based on cartoon characters - Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Popeye - his comic strip scenes of wartime action and romantic melodrama, and his stark, graphic images of everyday objects culled from advertising.
His images and his style are instantly recognisable; they are at once striking and subtle, humorous and highly serious. They surprised and shocked the public in the early 60s, as much for their precise, ‘mechanical’ style - big, brash, immediate, in bold primary colours - as for their uncompromising adoption of subjects from the worlds of commerce and popular culture.
This was Lichtenstein’s first major retrospective in Britain since the 60s. It explored the full range of his work in paintings and drawings, weaving together a series of themes and variations, from the early Pop works to landscapes, still lifes, interiors and figure works, and allusions to the tools of the painter, the canvas, the brushstroke, and even the artist himself. The exhibition revealed Lichtenstein as a complex artist, whose work has exerted a powerful influence on the course of art over decades, and whose concerns remain intensely relevant to art today.
The exhibition was organised by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.
Visit our dedicated minisite: www.southbankcentre.co.uk/lichtenstein