In The Car is a 1963 Pop Art painting by Roy Lichtenstein and is a perfect representation of the essence of the time. The painting depicts recognizable ‘types’ including the beautiful blonde woman and handsome, square-jawed man in a car, suggesting romance and adventure. Through his painting, Lichtenstein uses bold brushstrokes to highlight the stylized figures, creating an interesting interplay between the affectionate postures of the couple and the objectification.
The smaller version of In The Car held the record for highest auction price for a Lichtenstein painting until it was surpassed by Nurse in 1964. This provides us with a glimpse into how admired this artwork was at its creation. Nowadays, it still stands as a powerful reminder of how Pop Art shifted traditional art forms in order to critique modern life.
Similarly to Roy Lichtenstein, Fernand Leger also produced artwork that reacted against conventional styles and critiqued modern life. His oil on canvas The Typographer from 1919 exhibits this by focusing upon utilitarian objects such as letters and rulers instead of depicting figures or landscapes. Though radically different from Lichtenstein’s work in terms of style, both pieces are iconic representations of Modernism and how art has traditionally been used to express ideas about society.