Water Lilies by Roy Lichtenstein
Lichtenstein’s ‘Water Lilies’ is a group of six works that form a series to pay homage to the water lily paintings of Impressionist artist Claude Monet. These innovative works were made on stainless steel to appear to reflected like water. Lichtenstein had a long-standing fascination with reflections which he explored as a motif in many other prints and paintings.
Roy Lichtenstein’s early appropriation of the aesthetics of American popular culture made him integral to the development of Pop art. Roy Lichtenstein was a student of the work of Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Paul Klee, Roy Lichtenstein incorporated elements of contemporary art theory and popular print media into his painting. In 1961 Roy Lichtenstein began to replicate the Benday dot system used in mass-circulation printed sources such as comics, newspapers, and billboards; this would become a signature element of Roy Lichtensteins painting and sculpture. By mimicking this industrial method and appropriating images from high and low culture, Roy Lichtenstein’s work realized a broader accessibility that had not yet been achieved in contemporary art. Roy Lichtenstein’s most recognizable series evolved from imagery drawn from popular culture: advertising images, war-time comics, and pin-up portraits, as well as traditional painting genres.
Roy Lichtenstein was a pop art painter whose works, in a style derived from comic strips, portray the trivialization of culture endemic in contemporary American life. Using bright, strident colors and techniques borrowed from the printing industry, he ironically incorporates mass-produced emotions and objects into highly sophisticated references to art history.He was one of the first American Pop artists to achieve widespread renown, and he became a lightning rod for criticism of the movement.
Primary colors–red, yellow and blue, heavily outlined in black–became his favorites. Occasionally he used green. Instead of shades of color, he used the benday dot, a method by which an image is created, and its density of tone modulated in printing. Sometimes he selected a comic-strip scene, recomposed it, projected it onto his canvas and stenciled in the dots. “I want my painting to look as if it had been programmed,” Lichtenstein explained.