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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection


signed and dated 'rf Lichtenstein '64' (on the reverse)
oil and Magna on canvas
30 x 35 7/8 in. (76.2 x 91.1 cm.)
Painted in 1964
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York.
William Ittman (acquired from the above, October 1964).
Jack Glenn Gallery, Corona del Mar.
Leonard E. Holzer, New York.
Anon. sale; Sotheby's, New York, 4 May 1982, lot 73.
Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles.
Douglas S. Cramer, Miami (acquired from the above, 1983); sale, Sotheby's, New York, 14 November 2001, lot 3.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owner.
L. Bernikow, "La Quinta Norte," Architectural Digest, April 1987, p. 139 and 140 (illustrated).
S. Cheever, "A Bel-Air Collection," Architectural Digest, April 1997, vol. 54, p. 140 (illustrated).
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. Where Christie's has provided a Minimum Price Guarantee it is at risk of making a loss, which can be significant, if the lot fails to sell. Christie's therefore sometimes chooses to share that risk with a third party. In such cases the third party agrees prior to the auction to place an irrevocable written bid on the lot. The third party is therefore committed to bidding on the lot and, even if there are no other bids, buying the lot at the level of the written bid unless there are any higher bids. In doing so, the third party takes on all or part of the risk of the lot not being sold. If the lot is not sold, the third party may incur a loss. The third party will be remunerated in exchange for accepting this risk based on a fixed fee if the third party is the successful bidder or on the final hammer price in the event that the third party is not the successful bidder. The third party may also bid for the lot above the written bid. Third party guarantors are required by us to disclose to anyone they are advising their financial interest in any lots they are guaranteeing. However, for the avoidance of any doubt, if you are advised by or bidding through an agent on a lot identified as being subject to a third party guarantee you should always ask your agent to confirm whether or not he or she has a financial interest in relation to the lot.
Further details
This work will be included in the Catalogue Raisonné being prepared by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

Brought to you by

Max Carter
Max Carter Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, Americas

Lot Essay

One of the artist’s most conceptually compelling works, Eventide captures a rare meditative pause — a moment of contemplation that is further emphasized when compared to Roy Lichtenstein’s otherwise bold oeuvre of 1960s paintings inspired by America's post-war consumer boom. This unique work epitomizes Lichtenstein’s - and Pop Art's -enduring exploration of the connections between popular culture and fine art.

Eventide's structural elements appear as an easily digestible landscape; however, upon close examination, the viewer is immediately allured into the intricate details of each Ben-Day dots. Lichtenstein championed this dot painting technique — derivative of the mechanical printing method invented by Benjamin Day in the late-nineteenth century — to capture the qualities of color and texture, as seen in comic books. Working with stencils, the artist would produce rows of larger-than-life Ben-Day dots, each made to look mechanically reproduced. Despite his explicit imitation of the process of mechanical reproduction, the viewer is still able to revel in the captivating traces of the artist’s hand. Lichtenstein would diligently fill in each and every dot by hand; the dots are individually characterized by their subtle yet nuanced imperfections, engendering an intimate relationship between the artist and the artwork, and in turn, the artwork and, in turn, the viewer.

In addition to its visual prowess, Eventide’s illustrious provenance enriches Lichtenstein’s significant connection to the American zeitgeist of the 1960s. For almost twenty years, it was a core part of television mogul Douglas Cramer’s art collection. Cramer was an innovative television producer, creating iconic television series such as Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch, and Batman, in which he integrated Lichtenstein’s trademark Pop Art style.

Eventide’s illusory depth is at once disconcerting and deeply moving: the regimented execution of Ben-Day dots conjures feelings of industrial alienation while the expansive sky arouses a sense of oscillating movement. Lichtenstein’s convergence of two distinct modes of mark-making — uniting the quasi-pointillist sky with flattened strips of unmodulated color — imbues the composition with a heightened intrigue. The blue and light pewter strips spanning across the bottom quarter of the canvas ground the work; they operate as a source of gravity for the ephemeral vastness aroused by the undulating red and yellow horizon. The landscape’s horizon, intimated by the stylistic transition from flat strips of paint to the field Ben-Day dots, anchors the painting in reality. It draws the viewer’s focus back to the painting’s surface, foregrounding the flatness of the canvas.

A hypnotic progression of receding shadows, the alternating bands of red and yellow dots are likewise referential to mass media, recalling the early two-color technique of mass-commercial printing. Eventide exemplifies Lichtenstein’s intellectual exploration of semiotics. In referencing the iconic sign of landscape as an alternative to its symbolic significance, the artist once again directs our attention to the reality of this work as an object whose evocative presence depends on its cultural relevance. When speaking with curator Alan Solomon in 1966, Lichtenstein explains his conviction that “almost all of the landscape, all of our environment, seems to be made up partially of the desire to sell products” (R. Lichtenstein, quoted in J. Coplans, Roy Lichtenstein, New York, 1972, pp. 66).

The evocation of time and place, as referenced in the painting’s title and subject matter, inspire questions relating to the artist’s commitment to conceptual and visual abstraction. Lichtenstein is fully aware of his engagement with the use of abstraction’s—indeed, painting’s—apparently total reification as an engine and not an ending. At the root of this project, as the repeated erotics of Lichtenstein’s images make clear, is desire: the desire, quite simply, to paint, to put marks on canvas that are not swallowed up by, but actively work within, the networks they engage, that actually say something (G. Bader, “Emptied Gesture: Roy Lichtenstein's ‘Brushstrokes,’” Artforum, Vol. 49, No. 10, Summer 2011, pp. 346-351). According to Lichtenstein, the landscape is in fact akin to his earlier images sourced from commercial advertisements and comic books. In essence, the landscape isn’t about nature but rather about popular culture; Lichtenstein’s landscape, like his comic book strip, meditates on art production as it is inflected by mass culture.

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