Roy Lichtenstein, Still life with crystal bowl, 1976. Courtesy of Corridor Contemporary.

Roy Lichtenstein: Still Lifes

Roy Lichtenstein began painting still lifes in 1972, putting a cartoon-inspired spin on the centuries-old genre of portraying everyday objects in art. Lichtenstein, who was drawn to the art historical significance of the still life motif, filled his compositions with references to great artists of the past. In his prints and paintings, viewers can find guitars in the style of Pablo Picasso, bowls of goldfish borrowed from Henri Matisse, peeled lemons popularized by the Dutch Old Masters of the 17th century, and more. But while Lichtenstein’s works might contain elements of art history, the Pop artist always asserted that his renditions were distinctly modern. “When we think of still lifes, we think of paintings that have a certain atmosphere or ambiance,” he once explained. “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.”

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