Roy Lichtenstein was born in New York City. In 1939, he studied under Reginald Marsh at the Art Students League in New York, and the following year at the School of Fine Arts at Ohio State University, Columbus. He served in the army from 1943 to 1946, after which he resumed his studies and was hired as an instructor. He obtained his Master of Fine Arts in 1949. From 1957 to 1960, Lichtenstein obtained a teaching position at the State University of New York, Oswego. By then, he had begun to include loosely drawn cartoon characters in his increasingly abstract canvases. From 1960 to 1963, he lived in New Jersey while teaching at Douglass College, a division of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. In 1961, he began to make paintings consisting exclusively of comic-strip figures, and introduced his Benday-dot grounds, lettering, and balloons; he also started cropping images from advertisements. In his attempt to fully grasp and expose how the forms, materials, and methods of production have shaped the images of Western society, the artist has also explored other mediums such as polychromatic ceramic, aluminum, brass, and serigraphs.
Lichtenstein participated in the Venice Biennale in 1966, and was honored with solo exhibitions in 1967 and 1968 at the Pasadena Art Museum, California and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, respectively. The artist was the subject of a major retrospective at the Guggenheim in 1994, three years before his death September 30, 1997.