Born and raised in Manhattan, Lichtenstein enrolled at the Art Students League after high school and the, after a three-year stint in the art during World War II, he earned his M.F.A. from Ohio
State University. Like many of his contemporaries, his early work fell into the Abstract Expressionist vein, but by the 1960s, he started experimenting with omnipresent images and characters from
advertisements, cartoons and comics. He would clip images from newspapers, magazines and comic books; make enlarged drawings of the images; transfer the drawings to canvases.
In late 1960s, Lichtenstein's interest in art historical motifs resulted in many works that reference Cubism, Futurism, Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism. During the mid-to-late 1970s, he frequently drew upon Surrealist imagery, with a particular focus on the paintings of Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and Picasso. The works like Girl with Tears endow archetypal Surrealist tropes such as dreamlike landscapes with Lichtenstein's distinctive style, weaving Lichtenstein himself into an art historical narrative.