The works of American Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein never fail to draw us in. Whether it’s the familiarity of iconic comic book style, the quirkiness of his subjects or the emotional coolness of his works, Lichtenstein always makes us feel something. Perhaps it’s the artist’s reputation, his powerful contribution to launching Pop Art into the public mainstream that makes Roy Lichtenstein artwork work feel larger than life. As with other works by American Pop Art masters that hang on the walls of our Boca Raton gallery – those by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns or Robert Rauschenberg – Lichtenstein’s work spurs interesting conversations about the artist’s style, techniques and intentions.
The Student (Cat. #176), 1980
One of the newer Roy Lichtenstein prints for sale at Vertu is The Student, 1980 (Woodcut with embossing, 38.25 x 34 inches, signed and numbered in pencil). The student is a valuable low edition Lichtenstein print (edition of 50) that conveys the influence of cubist master Pablo Picasso. While elements of the work pay homage to the cubist style, the piece nonetheless contains many of the signature Roy Lichtenstein elements, such as the artist’s use of thick black lines and primary colors. The style of the window and curtain in The Student also tie in the Pop Artist’s signature comic book influence, while providing a bit of depth and whimsy.
For those of us over forty, Lichtenstein’s works are emblematic of the pop art of the 1960’s. The same could be said for other Pop Art masters, but Roy Lichtenstein certainly secured his own style within that mix. Pop Art collectors who equate Warhol with Babe Ruth will most certainly agree that Roy Lichtenstein is Lou Gehrig, or vice versa.
Study Of Hands, 1981
Much of the same cool modern style is true of Lichtenstein’s Study Of Hands, 1981 (Lithograph and Screenprint, 31.25 X 32.75 in., Edition of 100). Study of Hands is a fun piece, no two ways about it. Comic book style in the truest sense. Yet, four very distinct styles, as though they would each belong to a separate series within the same genre. Once again, the colors, lines and personality belonging to this work are all unmistakably Roy Lichtenstein.
Still Life with Red Jar (C.291: G.1621), 1994
Lichtenstein collectors who enjoy such representations are also drawn to another Roy Lichtenstein work for sale at Vertu − Still Life with Red Jar, 1994 (Screenprint, 21.5 X 19.25 in., Edition of 250). The simple and traditional subject of this work seem to accentuate that by 1994, one could argue that Roy Lichtenstein’s style is the subject. The lines, colors and depth all work so lovely that the longer one views it, the more complex the piece begins to appear. The objects appear lifeless one moment and full of expression the next. Once again, the viewer is forced to resolve the artist’s motive. Lichtenstein often said that he was as interested in the abstract qualities of images as their subject matter.
Repeated Design, 1969
Repeated Design – 1969 Cat. #90 (Lithograph, 16.75 in. X 40.75 in., Edition of 100) is yet another Lichtenstein work that viewers are immediately attracted to, often questioning which wall of the home or place of business would be most deserving of such a work. For many of us, this piece will also take us back to a place in time when it seemed like such contemporary pieces signified something futuristic. Interesting that we now see these works retrospectively! Once again, Roy Lichtenstein presents a work that is fraught with duplicity − simplistic and complex − flat, yet with great depth – lifeless one moment, emotive the next. This print includes a healthy dose of artist’s signature use of Ben-Day dots and most certainly alludes to a central lesson of Pop art; that all forms of communication are filtered through code.