Roy Lichtenstein - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, May 15, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gifted by the artist to the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Red Apple (Study), 1980, is a two-fold allusion and evidence of Lichtenstein's disparate pictorial vocabulary. The work quotes the artist's pervasive apple motif which is superimposed upon a salute to the bravura brushstroke of the Abstract Expressionists. The result is a stylized pop-art parody of two hallmarks of traditional painting: the still life as subject matter and the brushstroke as a window into the artist's soul. Lichtenstein had pursued the apple motif in his mature work as early as 1972 and would continue to investigate the nature of the still-life throughout his career.

    Commenting on his use of allusions and the nature of drawing, Lichtenstein wrote, "Generally artists, when they draw, are not really seeing nature as it is. They are projecting on nature with their familiarity with other people's art." (R. Lichtenstein as quoted by J.F.March, Roy Lichtenstein Beginning to End, Madrid: Fundacion Juan March, 2007, p. 62) Taking as his subject a fruit, Lichtenstein draws directly from the familiar and natural, stylizing it to the point of abstraction and making it his own.

    Lichtenstein's brushstrokes, dating from about 1965-1966, have a distinctive history as parody of the subconscious expression of ideas through the artist's hand so central to Abstract Expressionism. The brushstrokes were made with calculation and care; the very mechanical methods and aids he employed functioning as the antithesis to all romantic ideas attached to the artist's gesture and stroke. The coupling of the apple motif and the brushstroke is a perfect parody of the canon of western painting and a similarly perfect manifestation of all of Lichtenstein’s painting prowess.


Red Apple (Study)

graphite, painted paper collage on paper
28 1/2 x 21 3/4 in. (72.4 x 55.2 cm)
Signed and dated "R Lichtenstein 80" lower right.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Day Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Day Sale 15 May 2015 11am