Metallic Brushstroke Head

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  • Provenance

    Acquired from the artist
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Salzburg, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, "The Muse?" Transforming the Image of Women in Contemporary Art, July 22 – September 2, 1995 (another example exhibited), p. 96 (illustrated)
    Mexico City, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes; Monterrey, Museo De Arte Contemporaneo De Monterrey, A. C., Roy Lichtenstein: Imágenes Reconocibles: Escultura, Pintura y Grafica, July 9, 1998 – January 31, 1999; then traveled to Washington D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art; Lisbon, Centro Cultural de Belem; Valencia, Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (IVAM); La Coruña, Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza, Roy Lichtenstein: Sculptures & Drawings, June 5, 1999 – April 23, 2000 (another example exhibited), p. 80, no. 137 (illustrated)
    Providence, Brown University, Lichtenstein Sculpture and Prints, September 7 – October 27, 2002 (another example exhibited)
    New York, Mitchell-Innes & Nash; Zurich, de Pury & Luxembourg, Roy Lichtenstein: Brushstrokes, Four Decades, November 1, 2001 – June 18, 2002 (another example exhibited)
    London, Bernard Jacobson Gallery, Roy Lichtenstein: Last Still Life and Other Works, March 3 – 27, 2004 (another example exhibited)
    London, Gagosian Gallery; New York, Gagosian Gallery, Roy Lichtenstein: Sculpture, June 6, 2005 – October 22, 2005 (another example exhibited), p. 99 (illustrated)

  • Literature

    Judith Dobrzynski, "In Search of 'Unknown Roy,'" ARTNews, May 2006, p. 60 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    "[the Brushstroke] was the way of portraying this romantic and bravura symbol in its opposite style, classicism.” Roy Lichtenstein

    Reduced to its most minimal expression, Metallic Brushstroke Head, 1994 is Roy Lichtenstein’s homage to the two most fundamental elements of art – the brushstroke and the subject. The Brushstroke sculptures reference two of Lichtenstein’s most well-known and seminal series, the Brushstrokes paintings from 1965-67, and the Modern Heads, which he began in 1970. Like Andy Warhol’s Campbell's Soup Cans and Claes Oldenburg’s Store, Lichtenstein’s Brushstrokes and Modern Heads ushered in a new aesthetic sensibility, resulting in a fresh landscape of conceptual iconography. Where the Brushstrokes streamline Abstract Expressionism into a reinvented and simplistic visual language, the machine-like Modern Heads marry art and design by borrowing qualities from Cubism, Constructism and Art Deco.

    Employing and reinterpreting the brushstroke throughout thirty years of his prolific career, Lichtenstein calls into question the uniqueness and originality of the artist’s mark and “raises the question of the difference between commercial trademark and artistic style” (Klaus Honnef, POP ART, New York, Taschen, 2004, p. 54). Metallic Brushstroke Head also re-processes the female form through the built, historical, visual tropes of Lichtenstein’s own work. Seen in a twisting stance, Metallic Brushstroke Head shines in brightly painted aluminum. She is composed of the artist's signature Benday dots, contrasted with bright strokes of red, blue and turquoise and, of course, the highly stylized brushstrokes that compose her eyelashes and lips. The brushstroke serves here as a linear representation of body, hair, eyes and most notably, of itself. Peeking through these colored forms are elements of unpainted aluminum, imbuing the statue with a “mirroresque”, reflective quality. Utilizing the female face as a blank slate, Lichtenstein re-filters her features through his abstracted translation of commercial motifs – in essence transforming the remnants of the figure into a Roy Lichtenstein pop icon.


Metallic Brushstroke Head

nickel plated bronze, painted with enamel
83 x 24 x 22 in. (210.8 x 61 x 55.9 cm.)
base 3 x 21 1/2 x 21 1/2 in. (7.6 x 54.6 x 54.6 cm.)

Signed, inscribed, numbered and dated "rf Lichtenstein '94 AP 1/2 W.W.F." on the base. This work is artist's proof 1 from an edition of 6 plus 2 artist's proofs.

$2,000,000 - 3,000,000 

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
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20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 8 May 2016