By Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Cloud and Sea (1964) is a piece you may have seen in the 130s study area/Reading Room. The original is 30×60 inches and is porcelain enamel on steel. Lichtenstein is one of the leading artists in the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. This modern art explores the imagery of everyday, American consumer culture. The artists of this style looked to advertisements, packaging (think Andy Warhol’s famous soup can), celebrity photos, and comic strips. Lichtenstein was inspired by advertisements and comic books, specifically DC Comics’ All-American Men of War, Girls Romances, and Secret Hearts.
[Pop Art] is an involvement with what I think to be the most brazen and threatening characteristics of our culture, things we hate, but which are also powerful in their impingement on us.
– Roy Lichtenstein, quoted in Art News, November 1963
Lichtenstein was born and raised in New York City and upon graduation from the Franklin School for Boys, he attended Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He served in Europe during World War II, and upon his return he completed his Bachelors of Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts from Ohio State. He taught briefly at Ohio State before moving to Cleveland, Ohio where he worked as a window-display designer for a department, an industrial designer, and a commercial-art instructor. All the while, he worked on his art and held exhibitions in Cleveland and New York City. He later became an assistant professor of art at the State University of New York at Oswego and then assistant professor of art at Douglass College, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey. It was during his professorial days that he began experimenting with his style and medium to what we are familiar with today.