Brushstroke Still Life III, 1996 is an excellent, late example of Roy Lichtenstein's art. During this time he was working on a series of sculptures and paintings related to brushstrokes, drips and interiors. In this work, Lichtenstein conflates two of his most important subjects/themes--the classical still-life and the abstract expressionist brushstroke--to create a work that is both conceptually fascinating and beautifully painted.
Lichtenstein's work has always been concerned with creating a dialogue with the art of the past. Since the early 1960's, Lichtenstein painted Pop still-lifes, often influenced by masters of the genre. In Brushstroke Still Life III, Lichtenstein uses the tilted table top of Cezanne, which flattens the picture plane. The bright yellow lemon, represented by a ball of color, also references the Master of Aix's treatment of fruit.
Juxtaposed with the round form of the lemon is the juicily painted, expressionistic circular brushstroke, floating directly above it. One of Lichtenstein's signature images, the isolated brushstroke creates depth, as the table top recedes behind it. Previously the artist's brushstrokes were more stylized, but in the present lot, their is an unprecedented rawness that sets up a dialogue between flat and painterly surfaces. Painted the year before his death, this rare example points towards a new direction, showing an artist whose daring and creativity was undiminished to the end of his career.