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33

Property of an Important American Collector

Landscape with Poet (Study)

1995
signed and dated 'rf Lichtenstein 95' on the reverse
tape, painted paper, and printed paper on board
213.4 x 76.2 cm. (84 x 30 in.)
Executed in 1995, this work will be included in a forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of the artist’s work, currently in preparation by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

Estimate
HK$4,500,000 - 6,500,000 
€497,000-717,000
$577,000-833,000

sold for HK$8,140,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

General Enquiries
+852 2318 2000

  • Provenance

    Galerie Lawrence Rubin, Zurich
    Private Collection, New York
    Lawrence Rubin-Greenberg Van Doren Fine Art, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2000

  • Exhibited

    Zurich, Galerie Lawrence Rubin, Roy Lichtenstein Collagen 1994, 5 June - 15 July 1995, no.8 (exhibited and illustrated)

  • Literature

    Roy Lichtenstein Landscape in the Chinese Style, exh. cat., Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong, 2011, no. 8, p. 118 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    A product of a half-century long love affair with classical Chinese art, Roy Lichtenstein’s Landscapes in Chinese Style is one of the famed Pop-Art pioneer’s most nuanced, analytical and breathtaking series of productions. Despite his long-standing interest in the subject matter, the inspiration for its genesis came from the Degas Landscapes exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, held in 1994. There Lichtenstein became fascinated with the idea that amorphous, monochromatic shapes could actually be representational, despite their non-figurative nature. However it was the palpable atmosphere of these monotypes which drew Lichtenstein to make links to Chinese landscape painting – ultimately acting as the catalyst for the creation of the present lot.

    In Landscape with Poet, the artist reminds us of his wholly unique ability to engage and form aesthetic conversations with the work of other artists and cultures – reappropriating them within his own lexicon of dots, black contours and monochromatic zones. Within the Landscapes in Chinese Style series, this image of Landscape with Poet is one of the earliest known examples of vertical paintings that the artist had drafted. It became realized as a series of studies that include a graphite and coloured pencil version (1994), the present lot (1995), as well as a lithograph and screenprint version of an edition of 60 (1996). Differing from the other two versions, this lot is a unique, fully realized, complete artwork, composed of a multi-layered collage of tape, painted and printed paper on board where the artist’s synthetic process becomes clear upon closer inspection. Such use of painted pieces of paper echoes the techniques and materials used by Henri Mattise, in the creation of his famed ‘cut-outs’. Lichtenstein then evokes comparisons to classical Chinese masters, such as Mu Qi and Guo Xi through an intricate matrix of graduated “Benday dots” – stenciled meticulously in order to give the illusion of the image being printed, with the intention of rendering the work mechanical. The juxtaposition of the hand-crafted quality of this present lot, with Lichtenstein’s intention of creating a mechanical-looking outcome of the work is evident here. Diverging and converging in alternate areas, Lichtenstein creates a sensuous perception of depth as well as a serene atmosphere of a transcendental realm, employing extraordinary gentleness largely uncommon to his oeuvre. Although the genre of landscapes was one of the first that the artist interpreted within his archetypal comic-book style of production, Chinese landscape painting allowed Lichtenstein to approach previously-explored notions of compositional principles and visual concepts from a broadened perspective, and therefore acting as a vehicle for creative reinvention during what were to be the last years of the artist’s life.

    Having attended lectures on Eastern Art history during his time at university, Lichtenstein would have been exposed to the landscapes of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), whose social and spiritual ideals permeate throughout the work. Small figures were traditionally included in landscapes not merely as an aesthetic device, but as a means of reminding the viewer of the insignificant transience of human life in the face of the universe, as well as stressing the importance of the interrelationships between man and nature. Lichtenstein mirrors such sentiment, using the vastness of nature to force us to confront our very own existence. By placing a small figure against an expansive backdrop, Lichtenstein also provides spatial orientation, as well as toying with our perceptions of scale and proportions in an innovative way, making us consider each aspect – its details, its intricacies – before interpreting the painting as a singular whole.

    The true genius of this work lies in Lichtenstein’s ability to fuse classical with contemporary, in a way that is wholly archetypal of the artist himself. From employing similar medium orientation – in order to mimic a hanging scroll – to creating voluminous depths and atmospheres within the paintings themselves, he adopts the traditional compositional and visual elements of Chinese art while imbuing the works with his own trademark techniques and motifs. Indeed in this lot, Lichtenstein uses subtle humour, as he did throughout his career, to examine and shed light on the absurdity of Western generalisations and stereotypes. The incorporation of elements such as the rice picker hat and the crooked bonsai tree are the highlights of such, as they make no distinction between Chinese and Japanese cultures - instead using them as common signifiers of Asian culture. Even the title of the series itself makes a sarcastic accusation that there is a singular, universal style of Chinese painting. Through such visual and contextual clichés, Lichtenstein makes us question how we perceive and often cluster other cultures without devoting sufficient time to understanding them.

  • Catalogue Essay

    在創作「中式山水」系列之前,普普藝術先鋒羅伊‧李奇登斯坦傾慕傳統中國藝術已逾半個世紀,此系列是他一生中最耐人尋味、最具解析意涵的精彩作品之一。儘管他對中國山水的興趣由來已久,但此系列最初的靈感源自1994年一場由紐約大都會藝術博物館舉行的艾德加‧竇加風景畫展。李奇登斯坦驚喜地發現,寫意的的單色形狀雖然無法描繪寫實具象之物,卻承載表現內涵之能力。單色吸引力令李奇登斯坦聯想到中國山水畫,爾後,成為創作此一系列作品的催化劑。 我們可以由《中式山水系列:山水與詩人》中觀察到,藝術家以其獨特的創作技法,運用圓點、黑色輪廓線和單色塊的配置,詮釋受到的其他藝術家和文化啟發,交融並形成特殊的美學風格。在整個「中式山水」系列當中,本畫《山水與詩人》是目前已知最早的直幅(山水畫形制)作品之一。此稿最終發展為一系列習作,包括一幅石墨及彩色鉛筆版本(1994年)、本作(1995年)、石版畫及一件共六十版的絲網版畫(1996年)。此次拍賣之作品與另外兩個版本相異之處,在於本作是一件獨一無二,由藝術家親手制作; 完成度最高的精品,藝術家用多層膠帶、設色紙本和彩色列印紙本拼貼於木板上,觀者越靠近觀察,這一步步組合成形的製作過程就越清晰地展現於眼前。當中運用上色紙的技法,就像亨利‧馬蒂斯的剪紙畫。李奇登斯坦繼而用密密麻麻的班戴式(Benday)漸變色點距陣,引發視覺幻象,加之以其構圖疏密的安排,作品呈現似牧谿、郭熙等中國山水畫名家之水墨氣韻。這些用模版精心印制的點陣,目的是製造印刷品的錯覺,藝術家故意塑造作品是以機械化生產而成的效果。實際上,《中式山水系列:山水與詩人》創作細緻手續繁複。作品佈局即有留白的分散、亦有緊密的景緻聚合,李奇登斯坦創造出深刻的感性,並營造出超然世外的祥和氣氛。風景畫雖是李奇登斯坦的知名漫畫風格作品的初期題材之一,但中國山水畫讓他得以從另一種角度重新開啟之前鑽研的構圖原則和視覺概念,驅使他晚年再次突破創新。 李奇登斯坦在大學時期曾研修東方藝術史,當時或許已接觸過宋代山水畫,本作不乏宋畫的人文情懷與精神。傳統山水畫一般可見小小的人物行走或坐臥其中,不僅是畫作的點綴,在中式美學中旨在表達人生於天地間猶如滄海一粟,強調人與自然的關係。李奇登斯坦在畫中回應了此觀點,他利用自然景觀之雄偉遼闊,讓我們直接面對自身之存在。在本畫的恢宏背景下方有一人物的小小身影,平衡了畫面的空間定位;藝術家用創新的方式考驗觀者對尺度比例的感受,我們可以從不同角度觀看此作,逐一檢視細節,再近一步從整體的視角感受整幅畫。 《中式山水系列:山水與詩人》的精妙之處在於李奇登斯坦融和古典與當代元素的技巧,作品既見前人遺澤,又極俱藝術家的個人風格。本作仿照中式山水掛軸形制,營造豐富景深及氛圍,李奇登斯坦採用中國藝術的傳統構圖和視覺元素,同時融入自創的技巧和圖案。本畫一如李奇登斯坦的其他作品,有隱晦的戲謔意味,揭露並檢視西方世界對其他文化的概括方式和刻板印象的荒謬。畫中所見的竹笠帽和彎曲如盆景的樹枝就是典型的例子,西方人往往無法區分二者到底屬中國抑或日本,於是籠統將之歸類為亞洲文化的象徵。本作甚至連標題都有諷刺意味,彷彿中國畫只此一類,別無他種風格。李奇登斯坦通過展示這些視覺和內容上的陳腔濫調,促使觀者反思自身對異文化的即定觀念,常常不加以仔細理解,進而產生的誤解。

Select Language

English

中文

33

Property of an Important American Collector

Landscape with Poet (Study)

1995
signed and dated 'rf Lichtenstein 95' on the reverse
tape, painted paper, and printed paper on board
213.4 x 76.2 cm. (84 x 30 in.)
Executed in 1995, this work will be included in a forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of the artist’s work, currently in preparation by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

Estimate
HK$4,500,000 - 6,500,000 
€497,000-717,000
$577,000-833,000

sold for HK$8,140,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

General Enquiries
+852 2318 2000

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 November 2017

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