The above painting is widely recognized as Roy Lichtenstein‘s first work to employ cartoon or comic book imagery. Painted in 1961, Look Mickey was adapted from the 1960 children’s book Donald Duck Lost and Found. In Lichtenstein’s transformation of the storybook illustration by artists Bob Grant and Bob Totten, the composition is simplified and rendered in the bold outlines and primary colors of a mass-produced image, making it appear even more “pop” than the original picture. It’s interesting to note that the source material wasn’t a comic book and that the inclusion of a speech balloon was, perhaps, Lichtenstein’s way of making the image appear even more crassly mass-market by associating it with the cheap and prolific comic book industry of the early Sixties.
The original image (most of it, at least) can be seen here. There appears to be some sort of pissing contest over who discovered the source material for Look Mickey and it’s impossible to find an unadulterated scan from the original Little Golden Book that it was based on. Also, never underestimate the perils of displaying Disney artwork without the proper permissions and fees.
Happily, Lichtenstein’s Look Mickey was donated to the National Gallery of Art by the artist and his wife in 1990 in recognition of the Gallery’s 50th birthday. Wouldn’t it be cool if the Walt Disney Company commemorated the 50th birthday of Lichtenstein’s first work of cartoon/comic pop art by releasing the source image into the public domain?