Roy Lichtenstein, ‘Reflections on Girl, from: Reflections Series’, 1990, Christie's

Signed and dated in pencil, numbered AP 14/16, an artist's proof aside from the edition of 68, published by Tyler Graphics, Ltd., Mount Kisco, New York, with their blindstamp, the full sheet, in very good condition, framed
Image 983 x 1237 mm.
Sheet 1146 x 1391 mm.

From the Catalogue:
This large mixed-media screenprint is one of most celebrated works of the artist’s later printed oeuvre. Featuring a blonde-haired bombshell with ruby-red lips, the archetype of 1960s beauty, the artist is looking back to his by-now classic early works as a source of inspiration. This process of re-visitation is a witty reference to Pop Art’s use of imagery from mass media as sources of inspiration, as the artist’s own work had by now become a part of popular visual culture. As Lichtenstein noted, 'all my art is in some way about other art, even if the other art is cartoons' (Lichtenstein, quoted in: J. Hendrickson, Roy Lichtenstein, Cologne, 2000, frontispiece).

In the Reflections series, Lichtenstein investigates the ways in which the reflective surface can both prevent and enable comprehension of the underlying subject. "It enable[d] him to unleash a new range of inventive bravura, a heightened exploitation of spatial effects, and a new freedom in suggesting illusion" (E. Baker, 'The Glass of Fashion and the Mold of Form’ in: J. Coplans (ed.), Roy Lichtenstein, New York, 1972, p. 179). The female figure in Reflections on Girl is partly obscured by diagonal blocks of white filled with Benday dots and diagonal dashes. The colour of the blue on white suggests a reflective sheen and the metalised PVC strip of collage in the centre of the composition heightens this effect of light reflections.

'Mirrors are flat objects that have surfaces you can't easily see since they're always reflecting what's around them. There's no simple way to draw a mirror, so cartoonists invented dashed or diagonal lines to signify 'mirror'. Now, you see those lines and you know it means 'mirror' even though there are obviously no such lines in reality. If you put horizontal, instead of diagonal lines across the same object, it wouldn't say 'mirror'. It's a convention that we unconsciously accept’ (R. Lichtenstein quoted in: M. Kimmelman, ‘Roy Lichtenstein at the Met - Portraits, Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, The Louvre and elsewhere’, New York Times, 31 March 1995, p. C1)

In Reflections on Girl, Lichtenstein used an image from the comic book Falling in Love as the basis for the female figure in this image, but altered the colour palette and transposed the original brunette hair to sunshine-blonde in order to conform to the more stereotypical Pop idea of beauty. In this late series, however, the artist develops the subject with the use of the superimposed mirrored-reflections which breaks apart the figure, the composition and the text. In the source material, the text above read “Fire seethed through my body ... fanning ... spreading”, while the young woman is shown to be thinking “H-He couldn’t kiss me that way and love someone else!”. The partial obscuration of the text and the resultant ellipsis prevents the viewer from fully comprehending this message, but the words ‘kiss’ and ‘love’ are still discernible, while the slightly dejected downward tilt of the figure’s head conveys a sense of introspective self-doubt. This ironic trope of the love-struck or forlorn female figure in Reflections on Girl is characteristic of many of Lichtenstein’s most iconic subjects.

It started when I tried to photograph a print by Robert Rauschenberg that was under glass. But the light from a window reflected on the surface of the glass and prevented me from taking a good picture. But it gave me the idea … where the reflection would hide most of the work, but you could still make out what the subject was. … It portrays a painting under glass. It is framed and the glass is preventing you from seeing the painting."

(Roy Lichtenstein, ‘A Review of My Work Since 1961’, in: G. Bader, Roy Lichtenstein, October Files, New York, 2009, p. 69.)
—Courtesy of Christie's

Corlett 245

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