Roy Lichtenstein

10 - 31 January 2012

In the final years of his life, Lichtenstein took up the theme of the nude - one of the major subjects in the history of visual art - and it became an important part of his late work. As well as series of prints, Lichtenstein made paintings on the subject of the nude, including works such as Nudes with Beach Ball 1994 and Blue Nude 1994. It was the first time that he had approached the subject, but also marked a return to the comic book style of imagery he had first developed in the early 1960s.


Rather than working from life, Lichtenstein drew on female figures from the comic books he had first used in the 1960s, removed their clothes and imagined their bare bodies beneath in order to recreate them as nudes. Reproduced as comic-strip heroines, the figures in these works are intentionally provocative, presented to the viewer as a generic object of desire.


The nudes relate to many other areas of Lichtenstein's output, including reflections, mirrors and interiors, and they demonstrate his ongoing fascination with the modern masters, particularly Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. He explained:  

I have always been interested in Matisse but maybe a little more interested in Picasso.  But they are both overwhelming influences on everyone really.  Whether one tries to be like them or tries not to be like them, they are always there as presences to be dealt with.  They are too formidable to have no interest.  I think that someboty who pretends he is not interested is not interested in art.  

(Roy Lichtenstein, 'A review of My Work Since 1961', in Bader 2009, p.55)