Roy Lichtenstein (October 27, 1923 – September 29, 1997) was a prominent American pop artist. During the 1960s his paintings were exhibited at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City and along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and others he became a leading figure in the new art movement. His work defined the basic premise of pop art better than any other through parody. Favoring the old-fashioned comic strip as subject matter, Lichtenstein produced hard-edged, precise compositions that documented while it parodied often in a tongue-in-cheek humorous manner. His work was heavily influenced by both popular advertising and the comic book style. He himself described Pop Art as, "not 'American' painting but actually industrial painting".
Roy Lichtenstein was born in Manhattan into an upper-middle-class New York City family and attended public school until the age of 12. He then enrolled at Manhattan's Franklin School for Boys, remaining there for his secondary education. Art was not included in the school's curriculum; Lichtenstein first became interested in art and design as a hobby. He was an avid jazz fan, often attending concerts at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He frequently drew portraits of the musicians playing their instruments. After graduation from Franklin, Lichtenstein enrolled in summer classes at the Art Students League of New York, where he worked under the tutelage of Reginald Marsh.
Lichtenstein then left New York to study at the Ohio State University, which offered studio courses and a degree in fine arts. His studies were interrupted by a three-year stint in the army during and after World War II between 1943 and 1946. Lichtenstein returned home to visit his dying father and was discharged from the army under the G.I. Bill. He returned to studies in Ohio under the supervision of one of his teachers, Hoyt L. Sherman, who is widely regarded to have had a significant impact on his future work (Lichtenstein would later name a new studio he funded at OSU as the Hoyt L. Sherman Studio Art Center). Lichtenstein entered the graduate program at Ohio State and was hired as an art instructor, a post he held on and off for the next ten years. In 1949 Lichtenstein received a M.F.A. degree from the Ohio State University and in the same year married Isabel Wilson who was previously married to Ohio artist Michael Sarisky (Isabel divorced Roy Lichtenstein in 1965). In 1951 Lichtenstein had his first one-man exhibition at the Carlebach Gallery in New York.