Brushstroke Sculpture

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  • Provenance

    Thomas Segal Gallery, Boston
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Madrid, Fundación Juan March, Roy Lichtenstein 1970-1980, 14 January – 20 March 1983 (another example exhibited)
    Mexico City, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey; Valencia, Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno; A Coruña, Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza; Lisbon, Centro Cultural de Belém, Roy Lichtenstein: Imágenes reconocibles: Escultura, pintura y gráfica / Roy Lichtenstein: Imagens Reconhecíveis, 9 July 1998 - 15 August 2000, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated on the front cover); then traveled as Washington D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Roy Lichtenstein: Sculpture & Drawings, 5 June - 30 September, 1999, 5 no. 88, p. 139 (another example illustrated and on the front cover)

  • Literature

    Diane Waldman ed., Roy Lichtenstein, New York, 1993, p. 333 (another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Like Andy Warhol’s soup-cans, Lichtenstein’s brushstrokes were, clearly and at first glance, generational icons. They proposed a critique of the immediate past, clearly intending to supersede it without destroying it—to propose something new that would renew the past, as well.”(Dave Hickey, “Brushstrokes”, from Brushstrokes: Four Decades, New York, 2002, p. 10).

    As a seminal addition to the history of sculpture, Roy Lichtenstein’s definitive bronze, Brushstroke Sculpture, 1981, provides the ultimate challenge to our ideas on representation and the stylistic paradigms of 20th century visual culture. As the very first sculpture made by Lichtenstein on the brushstroke motif, the present work (from a limited edition of six) is testament to the prestige of the collection from which it originates, and the ability of its original owners – Miles and Shirley Fiterman – to acquire the most significant Pop Art pieces at the time of their production. In the present work the founding father of Pop Art employs his longstanding preoccupation with the mediation of images to a mesmerically confounding effect. Disrupting the traditional division between artistic mediums, Lichtenstein gives the art of painting three dimensional form. Executed in 1981, inaugurating an expansive series, Brushstroke Sculpture draws from the elegantly kitsch stylings of Lichtenstein’s iconic Brushstroke paintings of the mid 1960s. These groundbreaking paintings were based on cartoon-esque images of painted brushwork that Lichtenstein sourced from print media, forming a witty riposte to the supremacy of non-referential abstraction within the history of modern American painting. Further challenging the idea that painting in its purest form should refer solely to the act of painting itself, in Brushstroke Sculpture, Lichtenstein employs Duchampian strategies of dislocation and re-contextualisation, instead making a work of art that disrupts accepted definitions of art itself. Through his characteristic gloss of primary colours laid upon the classical medium of bronze, Lichtenstein narrows the gap between the avant-garde and popular culture; a schism that was expounded upon by post-war art critics such as Clement Greenberg and propagated by the Abstract Expressionist painters he championed in the early days of Lichtenstein’s career. As such, Brushstroke Sculpture represents the enduring centrality of pastiche as a visual tactic used by Lichtenstein as he constructed the radical parameters that defined Pop Art – the most important aesthetic and conceptual movement in the 20th century.

    A crucial paradox of Lichtenstein’s engagement with the brushstroke motif is that he portrayed the ultimate symbol of self expression in a style that seems to completely efface the presence of the author. Rather than showing the artist's hand, he would defer representation to the ubiquitous and recognisable lexicon of graphic fiction. Brushstroke with Spatter, 1966, in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, is a paradigmatic example of how Lichtenstein parodied the expressive mark-making and bravura application of paint that had long dominated American painting in the 1950s. Long revered as a spiritualistic embodiment of the creative moment, when Lichtenstein thematised the Brushstroke Sculpture in the mid 1960s he represented common gestures from action painting – the splatters of Jackson Pollock or the raw unblended marks of Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline – with the thick black outlines and block primary colours. In his distinctive comic book style, actual brushstrokes that composed images of brushstrokes remained invisible. As the artist noted, "Visible brushstrokes in a painting convey a sense of grand gesture. But, in my hands, the brushstroke becomes a depiction of a grand gesture. So the contradiction between what I'm portraying and how I am portraying it is sharp." (Roy Lichtenstein, A Review of My work since 1961: a slide presentation, 1995, transcript online).

    Whilst Lichtenstein engaged with different artistic styles and movements throughout his career, the present work comes from a period where he begins to re-engage with his own work, referencing past series. Created in 1981, the present work is the very first time that Lichtenstein transfers his iconic brushstroke motif to the medium of sculpture, thus giving it greater monumentality as an icon of his own making. As noted by renowned art critic and historian Hal Foster, the work is the first instance where “traditional bust meets abstract mannequin, Abstract Expressionist brushstroke meets cartoon sign of the same.” (Hal Foster, Roy Lichtenstein, Sculpture, New York and London, 2005). Lichtenstein constructs an elegant totem that enunciates a set of three brushstrokes in his characteristic bold black outlines and primary colours. A swirling vertical slick of white and blue supports a horizontal dash of ebullient yellow which in turn supports and vibrant red vertical swipe. Each is articulated as an image that holds a false sense of urgency, which is crucially at odds with the permanence of the medium. Lichtenstein conjures an idea of quick-handed expression with his erratic lines, despite the classically symbolic material or bronze requiring consideration and planning in its execution. As a medium that has been utilised from ancient times to the present day, Lichtenstein initiates an instance in which bronze is not simply painted, but becomes a representation of paint. Whilst sculpture occupied a central position in Lichtenstein’s oeuvre from the first time he cast a female figure in glazed ceramic in 1965, crucially Brushstroke Sculpture plays with our expectations of sculpture as a plastic and three dimensional medium. When Lichtenstein began his career, minimalist artists such as Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly were making paintings that presented themselves as objects; by 1981, in Brushstroke Sculpture, Lichtenstein reverses this transcendental process with great humor, creating a beguiling object that presents an unconvincing image of itself as paint.

  • Catalogue Essay

    「就像安迪·沃荷(Andy Warhol)的罐頭濃湯一樣,李奇登斯坦(Lichtenstein)的筆觸明顯地一眼便知是屬於一個世代的標誌。既是對近世的批評,又顯然在不破壞它的同時有意地將其取而代之 – 進而提出新的東西來更替過往。」(大衛・霍克尼,“筆觸”,來自《筆觸:四十年》,紐約,2002年,第10頁)。

    作為名列雕塑史的一件重要作品,羅伊·李奇登斯坦創作於1981年的;具有定義性的銅雕作品《筆觸雕塑》,是讓我們對於「再現」這一概念在認知上的挑戰,並建立了20世紀視覺文化在風格上的典範。作為李奇登斯以筆觸為主題所創作的第一件雕塑作品,這件創作(限量的六版之一)象徵著其原本所屬的收藏之聲望,也體現了它最初的所有者-邁爾斯及雪莉·菲特曼夫婦-在最重要的波普藝術作品一經問世便將其購入的能力。這位波普藝術的先驅長期專注於藉由圖像轉變,來達到引人思考的效果,並將此形式運用在這件作品的創作中。打破了傳統藝術與媒介之間的劃分,李奇登斯坦賦予了繪畫藝術三維的形式。完成於1981年,作為他延伸系列中首次推出的作品,《筆觸雕塑》源自李奇登斯坦1960年代標誌性的《筆觸》繪畫中通俗卻帶著優雅的風格。這些開創性繪畫作品基於李奇登斯坦對採集自印刷媒介的卡通式圖像所作的彩繪,是對非指涉性抽象所佔據主導地位的美國現代繪畫史所作出的一種詼諧的反思。進一步對繪畫最純粹的形式應單純指涉繪畫行為本身這個概念做出挑戰,在《筆觸雕塑》中,李奇登斯坦採用了杜尚式的錯位和語境重組的策略,創造出了一件對已成文的藝術進行破壞後的作品。通過將其典型的原色亮光漆上色於銅這一經典材質上,李奇登斯坦縮小了前衛與流行文化之間的距離;如克萊門特‧格林伯格(Clement Greenberg)等戰後藝術評論家所闡釋的,以及在李奇登斯坦的職業生涯早期由他所倡導的抽象表現主義畫家所應大力提倡的變革。因此,《筆觸雕塑》延續了藝術家將影像複製作為其視覺策略主軸的一致性。李奇登斯坦的美學概念,建立了深遠的影響力,為將波普藝術推上20世紀藝術史重要章節的主力之一。

    李奇登斯坦在筆觸這一主題上的一個關鍵悖論在於,他以一種近乎將作者的跡象完全抹去的風格;描繪了自我表達的終極象徵。作品上沒有創作者的存在感,藝術家展現的是無處不在的、高辨識度之圖像敘事。以芝加哥藝術學院收藏;創作於1966年的作品《潑濺的筆觸》(Brushstroke with Spatter),作為一個典型範例,展示了李奇登斯坦如何詼諧模仿了主導1950年代美國繪畫製圖的表現力和對顏料的出色使用。長期以來,作為創作時刻的精神主義之體現,當李奇登斯坦在1960年代中期將《筆觸》主題化的時候,他已然代表了行動繪畫的常見手勢-傑克遜·波洛克(Jackson Pollock)的潑濺或威廉‧德‧庫寧(Willem de Kooning)與弗朗茨‧克萊恩(Franz Kline)的即興和肆意-厚重的黑色輪廓與大片原色的使用。在他獨特的漫畫式風格中,由實際筆觸所構成的痕跡是看不見的。正如藝術家所指出的那樣:「在一幅畫中可見的筆觸傳遞了一種宏大的姿態。然而,在我的手中,筆觸成為一種對宏偉姿態的描繪。因此,我所描繪的與我描繪它的方式之間的矛盾是尖銳的。」(羅伊·李奇登斯坦,《我自1961年以來的作品回顧:幻燈片演示》,1995年,網路文章)。

    雖然李奇登斯坦在其整個職業生涯中參與了不同的藝術風格和運動,但這件作品源自於他開始重新審視自己的作品,參考過去的系列創作。這件作於1981年的作品是李奇登斯坦首次將其標誌性的筆觸主題轉移到雕塑的媒介上,讓它成為其個人創作的標誌,從而賦予它更深刻的存在性。正如著名藝術評論家和歷史學家霍爾‧福斯特(Hal Foster)所指出的那樣,這件作品是「傳統的半身像對上抽像型體,抽象表現主義筆觸融合相同的卡通標誌”的首次結合。」(霍爾‧福斯特,《羅伊·李奇登斯坦,雕塑》,紐約和倫敦, 2005年)李奇登斯坦構建了一個優雅的圖騰,以其特有的大膽的黑色輪廓和原色來展現三個筆觸的組成。垂直面上旋轉、光滑的白色和藍色部分支撐著水平面上洋溢著的黃色部分,而這黃色部分反過來再支撐著垂直面上鮮亮的紅色條型。雕塑的每一部分都帶著特意展現的緊迫感,與媒介本身的永久性形成強烈的反差。銅這一經典的穩重材質,常需要費時在其規劃和製作,李奇登斯坦卻以不規則的線條喚起了一種速度感。作為一種從古至今都被使用的媒介,李奇登斯坦卻於銅雕上再現了繪畫。雖然從李奇登斯坦於1965年第一次在釉面陶瓷中塑造了一個女性形象開始,雕塑就在他的作品中佔據了重要地位,至關重要的是,《筆觸雕塑》挑逗著對我們對雕塑作為一種可塑的三維媒介的期望。當李奇登斯坦開始他的職業生涯時,像弗蘭克·斯特拉(Frank Stella)和艾爾斯沃茲‧凱利(Ellsworth Kelly)等極簡主義藝術家正在創作以物體的形式出現的繪畫作品;到了1981年,在《筆觸雕塑》中,李奇登斯坦以極其幽默的方式將這種超凡的處理倒了過來,創造了一件以難以置信的顏料的形象出現的迷人的物體。

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Property from the Miles and Shirley Fiterman Collection

Brushstroke Sculpture

incised with the artist's signature, number and date '3/6 rf Lichtenstein '81' and stamped with the Tallix foundry mark on the base
painted bronze
80 x 33 x 16.5 cm. (31 1/2 x 13 x 6 1/2 in.)
Executed in 1981, this work is number 3 from an edition of 6.

HK$2,500,000 - 3,500,000 

sold for HK$2,250,000

Contact Specialist

Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 May 2019