"Throughout Lichtenstein was a classic Pop artist, categorically and definitively. His art is characterized not only by what is depicted equally by how it is made; the confluence of transposable subjects and indelible style is paramount, and in this, Lichtenstein never wavered. His disparate, and daringly indiscriminate, sources-an illustrated children's story, comic strips, product packaging, newspaper advertisements, mail-order catalogues, museum postcards, the yellow pages-are equalized by Lichtenstein's singular point of view. Inspiration as well as convictions regarding process, remains largely unchanged from the beginning to the end of his career-there is refinement, but no rupture. The core of his practice is to drain the particularity of an object or an image and impose his own affect."
(James Rondeau and Sheen Wagstaff, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2012. p. 23-24.)
The comic-strip violence, highly-keyed colors and the signature Ben Day dots, accentuated by the deafening POW!, evince what is considered to be one of Lichtenstein's first "true" Pop prints Sweet Dreams Baby! Published by Rosa Esman's Original Editions, who also published Lichtenstein's first solo print portfolio Ten Landscapes (lot 264) and Wesselmann's Little Nude (lot 393), the present work formed part of the three-volume installment of 11 Pop Artists. The project was sponsored by Philip Morris, in association with five galleries (including the Leo Castelli Gallery), and encouraged the launch of several exhibitions at museum throughout Europe. The same eleven artists produced a print for each portfolio in an effort to bring greater international attention to what was, then, a mostly American Pop art movement.
In the third and final installment of 11 Pop Artists Lichtenstein moved away from the subjects of his first two prints (landscapes and comic-book heroines) and toward a subject more powerful, violent and visually dramatic. He recalled the more immediate subjects of his early 1960s paintings Bratatat (1962) and Varoom! (1963) as well as one of his earliest prints published only a year before by Leo Castelli, entitled CRAK! (1963-64). The result was extraordinary, heightened all the more by the quality of the colors and impression in the present work.