• Post-War & Contemporary Evenin auction at Christies

    Sale 2219

    Post-War & Contemporary Evening Sale

    10 November 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 15

    Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)

    Collage for Nude with Street Scene Painting

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)
    Collage for Nude with Street Scene Painting
    titled 'Nude with Street Scene' (lower left); signed and dated 'rf Lichtenstein '95' (on the reverse)
    magna, graphite, tape and printed paper collage on board
    board: 30 x 40 in. (76.2 x 101.6 cm.)
    image: 23¾ x 33¾ in. (60.3 x 85.7 cm.)
    Executed in 1995.


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    This work will be included in the catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

    Roy Lichtenstein's Collage for Nude with Street Scene is a masterful example of the artist's innovative collage technique, which yielded works that rivalled painters in their complexity and wallpower. Primary colors of yellow, red and blue prevail on the surface, built up, yet simultaneously broken down through Lichtenstein's employment of Benday dots and stripes. The complexity of his technique is masked by the simplicity of the marks and lends his works a lasting fresh vitality. Lichtenstein created the black outlines in Collage for Nude with Street Scene using thin strips of photographic tape; he then attached the Benday dots in the form of sheets on specially printed paper; and many of the fields of color are in fact pre-painted sheets of uniform color that he affixed to the surface. The collage process allows compositional flexibility and enabled him to mold his original idea and disassemble the entire notion of seeing.

    Just as in his breakthrough works of the early 1960s, Lichtenstein appropriated the image from a romance comic, in this case from the summer 1962 issue of Heart Throbs, which was drawn by the excellent (and prolific) comic artist John Romita, known equally for his romance works as for his later Spiderman comics.

    Collage for Nude with Street Scene shows Lichtenstein's ability to challenge what had formerly been taken for granted in art; he has chosen the time-honored theme of the nude as his subject matter, which became a recurring element in many of his pictures from the 1990s.
    These are nudes in the same scandalizing vein of Courbet, Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec, but also crucially of certain types of magazine and literature. Then, in pictures that were inspired by a variety of sources, from Picasso to his own works and from Matisse to comic strips, Lichtenstein revisited old themes and compositions, repopulating his works with an array of naked women, all adhering to the strange and impossible ideals of the printed image. He has taken a staple of so-called High Art and reveled in condensing it into a visual language that speaks of mass media, democratizing art while also indulging in rampant and anarchic iconoclasm.

    Provenance

    Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
    Galerie Beyeler, Basel
    James Goodman Gallery, New York
    Pace Wildenstein, New York
    Doron Sebbag, Tel Aviv
    His sale; Christie's, New York, 16 November 1999, lot 12
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner