Roy Lichtenstein, Composition IV, 1995. Courtesy of Christopher-Clark Fine Art.

Roy Lichtenstein: Music

“What I really want to do is music,” Roy Lichtenstein joked in a 1997 interview. “But I won’t give up my day job!” The son of a gifted piano player, the Pop artist grew up surrounded by music, playing a variety of instruments as a child and attending concerts at the Apollo theater as a teenager. Lichtenstein hints at his passion for music in his early print The Melody Haunts My Reverie (1965), which portrays a blonde singer performing Hoagy Carmichael’s famous jazz crooner, “Stardust.”Lichtenstein was especially drawn to the improvisational style of jazz, and he often painted in his studio to the tunes of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. When Lichtenstein turned 70, he even began saxophone lessons with the renowned jazz saxophonist Hayes Greenfield as his teacher. In 1995 and 1996, just a few years into his studies, the Pop artist released a series of silkscreens featuring musical staves and notes swirling across the paper, celebrating the freeform spirit of jazz.

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