When we think of still lifes, we think of paintings that have a certain atmosphere or ambience. My still life paintings have none of those qualities, they just have pictures of certain things that are in a still life, like lemons and grapefruits and so forth. It’s not meant to have the usual still life meaning.
Gagosian is pleased to present Roy Lichtenstein: Still Lifes, the first exhibition devoted solely to Lichtenstein’s still-life paintings, sculptures, and drawings, which span from 1972 through the early 1980s.
Although Lichtenstein will always be synonymous with Pop art, he continued to make inventive new work for almost three decades beyond the 1960s, during which he had become famous for his distinctive use of popular cartoon images and commercial painting styles. Beginning in 1972, he began to work on still lifes, making his own updated contribution to the venerated historical genre, using hard, vivid color and simulated Benday dots, laboriously painted by hand. Lichtenstein rendered his Still Lifes in flat, outlined shapes that were inspired by newspaper and print advertisements and painted to look like the originals. Frequently his evocations of mechanical reproduction were more pronounced than in the original source; even when adapting motifs from other artists’ works, Lichtenstein used postcards or reproductions of the original rather than the original itself.
Lichtenstein’s Still Lifes cover a variety of motifs and themes, including the most traditional such as fruit, flowers, and vases. He also created still lifes from contemporary vernacular subjects, including the intentionally banal Office Still Lifes, as well as from the contents of his own studio. During the 1970s he began to quote art-historical styles as well as his own previous works, for instance rendering his subject in a way that conflated Cubist or Expressionist style with his own signature technique. Using his “cartoonish” method of painting, he stripped both subjects and movements of their original import and gravitas. He also mined the modern masters of painting—from Matisse to Leger, Gris, and Raphael Peale, among others—for still life motifs, which he included in paintings or used alone in sculptures.
This exhibition brings together more than fifty Still Life paintings and sculptures from prominent private collections and museums worldwide, and it includes a selection of rarely seen Still Life drawings, many of which are precise sketches for the paintings and sculptures.
A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition, featuring an essay by John Wilmerding, professor of American art at Princeton University; a photographic contribution by artist Louise Lawler; and an interview with collector and dealer Joe Helman.
Jacoba Urist profiles the legendary collector.
The Art History of Presidential Campaign Posters
Against the backdrop of the 2020 US presidential election, historian Hal Wert takes us through the artistic and political evolution of American campaign posters, from their origin in 1844 to the present. In an interview with Quarterly editor Gillian Jakab, Wert highlights an array of landmark posters and the artists who made them.
Dorothy Lichtenstein sits down with Derek Blasberg to discuss the changes underway at the Lichtenstein Foundation, life in the 1960s, and what brought her to—and kept her in—the Hamptons.
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019
The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
Roy Lichtenstein: 1961 to 1965
Gillian Pistell examines Roy Lichtenstein’s aesthetic developments in the years 1961 to 1965.
Landscapes in the Chinese Style
March 1–April 7, 2012
555 West 24th Street, New York