Roy Lichtenstein, ‘Bull Profile Series’, 1973, Christie's
Roy Lichtenstein, ‘Bull Profile Series’, 1973, Christie's
Roy Lichtenstein, ‘Bull Profile Series’, 1973, Christie's
Roy Lichtenstein, ‘Bull Profile Series’, 1973, Christie's
Roy Lichtenstein, ‘Bull Profile Series’, 1973, Christie's
Roy Lichtenstein, ‘Bull Profile Series’, 1973, Christie's

Each signed, dated in pencil and numbered 89/100 (there were also thirteen artist's proof sets), published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles, with their blindstamps and inkstamp on the reverse, each the full sheet, in very good condition, framed
Each Sheet: 27 x 35 (686 x 889 mm.)

From the Catalogue:
“The series pretends to be didactic; I’m giving you abstraction lessons. But nothing is more abstract than anything else to me. The first one is abstract; they’re all abstract.” – Roy Lichtenstein, 1973

Lichtenstein's Bull Profile Series references Picasso's famous treatment of this subject in 1945, Le Taureau. In Picasso's rendering the bull is gradually simplified through eleven successive re-workings of the lithographic stone from a naturalistic depiction of the animal to a mere cypher. In the final impression the bull is pared down to its essence, an archetype embodying virility and strength. This progression from naturalism to radical simplification is intimately associated with the lithographic process, the refinement of the image through repeated erasure and re-drawing on the stone. By contrast Lichtenstein's series is pre-conceived, based on collages and drawings which he had executed beforehand. Rather than reflecting a visual search for the bull's true form through abstraction, the Bull Profile Series is a gentle parody of such grand aspirations.

The prints are graphically slick, using a combination of screenprint and lithography, with the addition of line cut, a process more often associated with commercial printing. There is no history of the image's development, no investing of the subject with personal symbolism, only a playful obscuring of the animal's shape, until it is rendered indecipherable in a colorful arrangement of geometric shapes. The series encapsulates David Sylvester's observation in an article in American Vogue in 1969 that 'Lichtenstein takes soulful subjects and paints them with cool'.
—Courtesy of Christie's

Corlett 116 - 121; Gemini 466 - 471

About Roy Lichtenstein

When American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein painted Look Mickey in 1961, it set the tone for his career. This primary-color portrait of the cartoon mouse introduced Lichtenstein’s detached and deadpan style at a time when introspective Abstract Expressionism reigned. Mining material from advertisements, comics, and the everyday, Lichtenstein brought what was then a great taboo—commercial art—into the gallery. He stressed the artificiality of his images by painting them as though they’d come from a commercial press, with the flat, single-color Ben-Day dots of the newspaper meticulously rendered by hand using paint and stencils. Later in his career, Lichtenstein extended his source material to art history, including the work of Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, and experimented with three-dimensional works. Lichtenstein’s use of appropriated imagery has influenced artists such as Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, and Raymond Pettibon.

American, 1923-1997, New York, New York, based in New York and Southampton, New York