Roy Lichtenstein - Editions & Works on Paper New York Friday, July 24, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Mary Lee Corlett 240

  • Catalogue Essay

    Heralded pop artist Roy Lichtenstein gained inspiration for the Reflections Series (lot 78) from photographs that he took of a glass-covered Robert Rauschenberg print: streaks of light obscured areas of the work but left enough of the print visible that the scene could be understood. Ben-Day dots, a signature of Lichtenstein’s work borrowed from mass-media cartoons, were also added to these images to foster a duality between Pop and Fine art. However, in each print, the focal illustration is partially concealed by smooth, mirror-like metalized PVC. The textural combination of collage, woodcut relief and embossing on top of screenprint and lithography constructs a methodical scene: one of certainty and ambiguity that invites the viewer to create his or her own interpretation.

    During the Summer of 1990, Lichtenstein began working on his bas-relief Suspended Mobile at Saff Tech Arts, the workshop of Donald Saff, who collaborated with notable artists such as Ed Ruscha, Jim Dine and Robert Rauschenberg. While producing his mobile, Lichtenstein created the Water Lilies series, drawing inspiration from Claude Monet’s paintings of the same name. This was not the first time that Lichtenstein drew inspiration from the work of Claude Monet—in 1969, he painted versions of the famed Cathedral and Haystack series, adding a pop twist to pivotal impressionist works. Blue Lily Pads, from Water Lilies (lot 79) was a way for Lichtenstein to combine new techniques and materials: he drew on industrial patterns used in the dashboards of antique automobiles to create metallic textures that broke up the orderly dots and lines of his signature works. Each steel section of the print was created individually using an arduous process that involved suspending a drill press upside down from the ceiling. These reflective surfaces capture the light and color of their surroundings, transforming as they are observed from different angles.

    Analogous to the sculpture Lichtenstein created at Saff Tech Arts, Landscape Mobile (Limoges) (lot 80) presents a layered landscape scene composed to give the illusion of movement. This porcelain and bronze tabletop stabile brings Lichtenstein’s flat comic book style to three dimensions. Although vastly different in composition and medium, these lots each embody the trademark style of this legendary pop artist in fun and exuberant ways.


Reflections on Conversation, from Reflections Series

Lithograph, screenprint, woodcut, relief and metalized PVC collage with embossing in colors, on Somerset paper, with full margins.
I. 47 1/4 x 60 3/4 in. (120 x 154.3 cm)
S. 53 7/8 x 66 3/4 in. (136.9 x 169.7 cm)

Signed, dated and numbered 22/68 in pencil (there were also 16 artist's proofs), published by Tyler Graphics Ltd., Mount Kisco, New York (with their blindstamp), framed.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $137,500

Contact Specialist
Kelly Troester
Worldwide Co-Head of Editions, Modern
+1 212 940 1221

Cary Leibowitz
Worldwide Co-Head of Editions, Contemporary
1 212 940 1222

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 23 - 24 July 2020