Christie’s: Prints & Multiples

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Roy Lichtenstein, ‘Reverie’, 1965, Christie's

Signed in pencil, numbered 148/200 (there were also fifty impressions numbered in Roman numerals and approximately five artist's proofs), published by Original Editions, New York, the full sheet, in good condition, framed
Image 687 x 583 mm., Sheet 765 x 610 mm.

From the Catalogue:
Roy Lichtenstein based the lovelorn blonde in Reverie on the illustrations of the graphic artist Arthur Peddy (1916-2002). Peddy’s drawings for the DC Comics series Falling in Love and Girls’ Love Stories had a great influence on the artist, and became the source material for much of his work in the early 1960’s. In Reverie Lichtenstein alters Peddy’s original composition, zooming in on the heroine’s plaintive face and filling the entire sheet with her wistful expression. Her eyes are rendered in a downturned, imploring manner, and her parted lips reveal a pleading mouth. Lichtenstein eliminated her earrings in order to focus more fully on her curled hair, and altered the pearls of her necklace into a straight line set at a forty-five degree angle. The title refers to the lyrics of Stardust, a nostalgic ballad composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael (1899-1981), which was popularized by Nat King Cole in the 1950’s. It’s haunting lyrics perfectly evoke the melodrama reflected by Lichtenstein’s heroine:

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely nights
Dreaming of a song.
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you.
When our love was new, and each kiss an inspiration.
But that was long ago, and now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song.

—Courtesy of Christie's

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Corlett 38

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