Roy Lichtenstein - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, November 23, 2019 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
    Akira Ikeda Gallery, New York
    Thomas Segal Gallery, Boston
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1991

  • Exhibited

    Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art, Roy Lichtenstein: Inside/Outside, December 2001 - February 2002, p. 41 (another example exhibited and illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Pop Art was an era-defining movement which emerged in postwar America, and Roy Lichtenstein one of its central players. With his instantly recognisable, tongue-in-cheek artworks based on comics and “low” pop and mass culture imagery, Lichtenstein triumphantly challenged the traditions of fine art and succeeded in the inclusion of a new form of ‘anti-art’ in the canon of art history – “anti-contemplative, anti-nuance, anti-getting-away-from-the-tyranny-of-the-rectangle, anti-movement-and-light, anti-mystery, anti-paint-quality, anti-Zen, and anti all of those brilliant ideas of preceding movements which everyone understands so thoroughly.” (Roy Lichtenstein, quoted in G. R. Swenson, 'What is Pop Art? Interviews with eight painters', Art News 67, November 1963, pp. 25-27)

    Early in his career, buoyed by the ideas of the radical anti-commercial and anti-art 1960s Fluxus movement, Lichtenstein abandoned his experiments in Cubism and Abstract Expressionism and began dabbling in proto-Pop imagery which utilised ‘as found’ cultural objects. He developed an iconic style that appropriated cartoons and advertising imagery to comment on mass culture and consumerism. Lichtenstein and his fellow Pop artists struggled at first to be taken seriously, and were commonly assumed to be an empty, comical counterpoint to the introspective, psychological angst of post-war Abstract Expressionism. But the playful humour of the Pop Art movement belied a sharp art-historical self-consciousness, which utilised irony and parody to offer a critique on the nature of art itself and to break down barriers between art and reality. Lichtenstein explained:

    Pop Art looks out into the world. […] It doesn't look like a painting of something, it looks like the thing itself. […] Pop Art seems to be the actual thing. It is an intensification, a stylistic intensification of the excitement which the subject matter has for me; but the style is, as you said, cool.” (Lichtenstein quoted in G. R. Swenson, 'What is Pop Art? Interviews with eight painters', Art News 67, November 1963, pp. 25-27)

    Throughout his career Lichtenstein played with re-interpreting masterpieces by artists as diverse as Picasso and van Gogh in his signature style, transforming them with same simplified schematic forms, bright colours, bold black outlines and Ben Day dots common to newspaper and magazine printing. In his mature years as an artist he began working on a series of sculptures paying homage to fellow American artist and sculptor Alexander Calder - the first of which was Mobile I. Calder’s distinctive kinetic abstract sculptures were christened ‘mobiles’ by Marcel Duchamp, and Lichtenstein referenced the enduring legacy of Calder’s mobiles in his trademark domestic interior paintings: in one, a Calder mobile stands proudly displayed upon a tabletop (Interior with Mobile, 1992) whilst in another a Calder mobile appears in a painting hung on the wall (Interior With Mobile Painting, 1992). Like Lichtenstein, Calder’s works were avidly collected by the cultural philanthropists Miles and Shirley Fiterman.

    Both artists shared a profoundly whimsical, childlike streak, enhanced by a preference for the same perennially cheerful primary colour palette. In contrast to Calder’s mobiles, which move gracefully with the slightest touch or breeze, Lichtenstein created a ‘mobile’ cast in bronze which remains stubbornly immobile in spite of its three-dimensional form. Lichtenstein, who began creating his distinctively-styled sculptures early in his career after being inspired by New York’s enameled metal subway signs, explained that the essence of sculpture was simply a matter of perspective:

    "There is really not that much difference aesthetically between two and three dimensions to me. I believe sculpture can be seen as a two-dimensional problem...As you turn the sculpture, or move your position, you continually perceive it differently. It’s the relationship of contrast to contrast, rather than volume to volume, which makes it work. So, even though I realise it is three-dimensional, it is always a two-dimensional relationship to me – or as two-dimensional as a drawing is." (Roy Lichtenstein, quoted in G. Celant, Roy Lichtenstein: Sculptor, exh. cat., Fondazione Emilio e Annabianca Vedova, Venice, 2013, p. 54)

    Lichtenstein’s ideas and transformative use of appropriation and simplification paved the way for Postmodernism. Today his sculptures and paintings are regarded as generational icons. Throughout his career he was honoured with major institutional retrospectives including ones at the Tate Gallery, London (becoming the first American to exhibit there), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and after his passing at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the National Gallery, Washington, D.C., amongst others. His works are held in prominent public collections including the National Gallery and the Art Institute of Chicago and are highly sought after by collectors.

Property from the Miles and Shirley Fiterman Collection


Mobile I

incised with the artist's signature, number and date 'rf Lichtenstein 5/6 '89' and stamped with the Tallix foundry mark on the base
painted bronze
76.8 x 89.5 x 21.6 cm. (30 1/4 x 35 1/4 x 8 1/2 in.)
Executed in 1989, this work is number 5 from an edition of 6.

HK$4,000,000 - 6,000,000 

Sold for HK$3,500,000

Contact Specialist
Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 24 November 2019