Sometimes it is very tempting to judge a book by it’s cover—never has this temptation been so great for me as when I first saw biography on “Roy Lichtenstein” by Lawrence Alloway. You see, the cover of this book has a very covetable art work by Lichtenstein pictured on it entitled “Oh Jeff I love you too…. But”. I have long wanted to get a reproduction of this painting for my own home to compliment the “Ohhh Alright” I have hanging in the living room (courtesy of my parents— thanks parents :)). Alas, I have yet to find a quality (and *AHEM* licenensed) “Oh Jeff” aside from the one on this book cover. But I did get to know a bit more about one of my favorite artists in the meantime by reading the book’s contents. Who says it’s wrong to judge a book by it’s cover anyways?
I have been a huge Roy Lichtensteinfan ever since my 6th grade art teacher made us do a lesson on his comic paintings from the 1960s when I was a little kid. Over the years my love for Lichtenstein has only grown— I must admit that when I first saw his paintings of fryers and balls of twine when I was little I was not so impressed, but now their stark simplicity and spot-on execution really speak to me. It was his comic paintings that sucked me in though— and that’s what I still love the most until this day.
Lawrence Alloway’s book on Lichtenstein is by no means comprehensive— he aims to cover Lichtenstein only in his famous years (not his art school roots or anything like that). Still, I think this book offers more on Lichtenstein than any average fan would want to know— tracing his career beginnings in the comic pop-art paintings all the way to his abstract expressionist work in his later years. It is very interesting to see how Lichtenstein’s style evolved over the course of this time period—in ways that weren’t always so linear– for example he had a couple of periods of painting single objects– and a couple which he dabbled in abstract expressionism– not necessarily concurrently.
Lichtenstein by Alloway has many wonderful examples of Lichtenstein’s work as it spanned his career. It was not always easy to follow along with the text and find the picture the author might have been referring to (my one small peeve with the book), but otherwise the paintings and pictures are arranged in a nice asthetic design that allows the reader to enjoy them thoroughly. The high-quality printing of this book ensures that the vivacity of Lichtenstein’s original paintings is somewhat preserved in print—a task that is probably not as easily done as said.
I recommend this book to any pop-art or Lichtenstein fan. Even if all you did was look at the pictures in it, I still would think this book is well worth it. Hell, for the cover image alone, I think this book is well worth the asking price 🙂 Perhaps I’m just a biased Lichtenstein fan, but at least I’m pleased with my purchase. Notso gives it two paws up!
Disclaimer: This review contains affiliate links, though I am not paid by anyone to write about this particular book. Just in case you needed to know 😉