by Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997)
Medium: acrylic and oil on canvas
Dimensions: H 172.7 x W 406.4 cm
American artist Roy Lichtenstein was a well-known exponent of the Pop Art movement. The composition (arrangement of forms) is borrowed from a comic book and the hard-edged style, with forms outlined in black, gives it a cartoon-strip appearance. The title, Whaam!, is onomatopoeic which heightens the impact of the missile launched from the fighter plane on the left at the enemy plane on the right. Lichtenstein had served in the US Army and, at the time of painting this, the Vietnam War was well underway.
How has Lichtenstein represented war here? Does the simplified style, in two-dimensional (flat) blocks of unmodulated primary colour, affect our interpretation?