Roy Lichtenstein - Contemporary Art Day London Friday, February 12, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist; Kenneth Tyler and Tyler Graphics Ltd, New York; Private Collection, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, James Goodman Gallery Inc, Roy Lichtenstein: Works on Paper, 20 November 2006–15 January 2007

  • Catalogue Essay

    Roy Lichtenstein’s Untitled (Sheets of Studies for Leda & the Swan) shows a fusion of the style of the Art Deco period of the 1920s and 1930s, and the theme of Greek mythology. The drawing has a two-dimensional static quality reminiscent of 1930s art, in which a careful balance is observed in the relationship between verticals, diagonals, curves and straight edges, to achieve a feeling of dynamic movement as well as a frieze-like stillness. The theme of Leda and the Swan, based on the Greek myth of Leda who was seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan, gained popularity in the 16th century and was revisited in the 1960s by artists such as Cy Twombly and Hermann Nitsch. Lichtenstein’s drawing of studies shows his ability to understand the subject matter and the organization and division of space to create an energetic composition.

  • Artist Biography

    Roy Lichtenstein

    One of the most influential and innovative American artists of the post-war period, Roy Lichtenstein ushered in the prominence of Pop Art through his high-impact representations of consumer imagery, common entertainment, and the accoutrements of contemporary life rendered in the Ben-Day dots of contemporary comic strips. Central to Lichtenstein’s practice was parody, which enabled the artist to engage with often-disparaged commercial source imagery from an ironic distance as he considered the nature of the banal and probed the boundaries of what fine art could be.


    While Lichtenstein’s early Pop work cemented his status as one of the main figures of one of the most iconic and original movements of postmodernism, he continued to develop his practice over the course of the following decades until his death in 1997. Retaining his characteristic comic style and ironic distance, Lichtenstein engaged new and disparate influences from Abstract Expressionism to Chinese landscape painting to evolve the subject of his own work and consider the contradictions of representation, style, and substance. Lichtenstein is a central figure in the 20th century art historical canon and accordingly his work is represented in the collections of major museums worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; and Centre Pompidou, Paris.

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Untitled (Sheets of Studies for Leda & the Swan)

c. 1968
Graphite on paper.
48.3 × 89.2 cm (19 × 35 1/8 in).
Signed twice ‘Roy Lichtenstein’ upper and lower centre.

£120,000 - 180,000 

Contemporary Art Day

13 Feb 2010