ROY LICHTENSTEIN (1923-1997)
ROY LICHTENSTEIN (1923-1997)
ROY LICHTENSTEIN (1923-1997)
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This lot is being sold by a charitable organizatio… Read more Art for Vaccines: Property Sold to Benefit CARE’s Global COVID-19 Response
ROY LICHTENSTEIN (1923-1997)

Collage for CARE Poster

Details
ROY LICHTENSTEIN (1923-1997)
Collage for CARE Poster
signed and dated 'rf Lichtenstein '93' (on the reverse)
acrylic, tape and printed paper collage on board
image: 39 3⁄4 x 27 in. (101 x 68.6 cm.)
sheet: 52 x 38 1⁄8 in. (132.1 x 96.8 cm.)
Executed in 1993.
Provenance
The artist
Dorothy Lichtenstein, New York
Donated to CARE in memory of Roy Lichtenstein and in honor of CARE’s 75th Anniversary
Literature

Special notice

This lot is being sold by a charitable organization with proceeds intended to benefit CARE and a US taxpayer may be able to claim a deduction for any amount of the purchase price paid in excess of the mid-estimate.
Post lot text
This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

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Lot Essay

“I’m trying to make paintings like giant musical chords, with a polyphony of colors that is nuts, but works... It's a balancing act, but sometimes one unneeded mark can destroy the painting. It'll veer into being over-rendered and die. I want my drawing to be apparent in the marks. Mostly it's walking a tightrope between the surface of the painting and the image being represented. For me, they're always in some sort of conflict.” (R. Lichtenstein, quoted in M. Kimmelman, “Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, The Modern, The Louvre and Elsewhere,” New York, 1998).

One of the most acclaimed founders Pop Art, Roy Lichtenstein is oft-remembered for his bold, vibrant palette, and signature Ben-Day dots that turned “popular” commodities such as cartoons and fast food into surreal versions of themselves. With the present work, Collage for CARE Poster, this formality falls away, now contextualized both within a historical moment and the artist’s humanitarian nature. Created specifically to help raise funds for philanthropic organization CARE’s World Hunger Campaign in 1993, the black outlined boxes stamped “CARE” harken back visually to the care packages that the non-profit corporation, vocally backed by President Harry Truman, Herbert Hoover, and Dwight Eisenhower, once sent to Europe following World War II. While the recurring motifs emblematic of Lichtenstein’s style, such as meticulous dots, carefully chosen printer ink colors and a dynamic, playful composition, are present, this original artwork, graciously donated by his wife, Dorothy Lichtenstein, is a testament to the belief in the power of art to change the world.
Born in 1946 out of the aftermath of the second world war, CARE (Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe) established its mission to organize and send care packages and rations to loved ones to war-ravaged Europe. Having collaborated with artists such as Ed Ruscha, Jim Dine, Maurice Sendak, the estate of Pablo Picasso, and Roy Lichtenstein to garner financial support for various social justice missions, CARE now looks to the transformative mental and material power of art to shift public consciousness and push for positive change through their Art for Vaccines campaign, which aims to increase access to the Covid-19 vaccine globally. Oscillating between the classical conceits of modernist art history, Lichtenstein’s demarcation of negative space, dots, and pigmented elements work to venerate the first CARE packages to arrive in Le Havre, France, near the D-Day beaches of Normandy, into American symbols. The pictorial resemblance transforms the black and white photographic, genre-documentarian ideal into Lichtenstein’s stylized, comic-strip world, retaining the charged history’s meaning without the burden of representing war history. While Lichtenstein’s oeuvre, like much of the Pop-Art movement, is concerned with celebrity and consumer culture, here his collage operates by bridging the unreal distance of charitable donations abroad, bringing them closer to home through his recognized aesthetic language that came to define mid-twentieth century American art.
Lichtenstein notes that “a form has been developed that is recognizable to the society… but this kind of portrayal is so unreal when compared with the actual object. This is something that interests me plus the fact that these portrayals are taken for real.” (R. Lichtenstein, quoted by G. Glaser, “Oldenburgh, Lictenstein, Warhol: A Discussion”, Artforum, New York, February 1966, pp. 20-24). While ostensibly applicable to his works of quotidian, everyday objects like Warhol’s Brillo boxes or daily gestures like spreading a condiment on a slice of bread (Mustard on White, 1963), Lichtenstein’s Collage for CARE Poster posits that a generosity of spirit and a humanitarian vision for the world is equally an everyday gesture and a fundamental value of the American people.

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