• DKH Gallery

Cubism & Its Influence in Lichtenstein's Printwork

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque created a movement between 1912 and 1914 that has since influenced children's art projects around the world. Collage is an art project that is beautiful in its simplicity yet has complex underlying concepts that can keep you intrigued for years. That was the beauty and genius of Braques theoretical ideas projected in line and colour. Cubism had a widespread impact on the fine art world at large with the concepts of dimension and space taking a theoretical precedence during its inception. The idea was instead of an impression of an object and the expression of colour, could one explore plane, dimension and space by taking a three dimensional object and flattening or squishing it down into a two dimensional plane but still keep its three dimensional properties within that 2-D space. Cubism allowed the viewer to immediately understand what they were looking at without having the entire object on the visual plane. These ideas would have a profound impact on contemporary artists including Roy Lichtenstein. Despite Lichtenstein being known for the Ben Day process and illuminating the art of the early comic, he often incorporated theoretical ideas brought to the fore by modern European artists, including Cubism.

However, Lichtenstein did not take items from a magazine or le journal as Picasso once did, instead he incorporated the Boîtes that Marcel Duchamp created to display all of his pieces as he wanted them arranged. Lichtenstein followed a similar premise by combining the two ideas by either incorporating his works into one "room" or "wall" into his paintings creating a collage of works within the domestic sphere. The viewer then experiences space and dimension while interacting with 3-D objects in a 2 dimensional plan. This is displayed on his Oil and Magna on canvas Things on the Wall painted in 1973 as shown below (part of the DKH Gallery Collection).

Here we see he liked to use texture and flat colour to create illusion in addition to using collage techniques to create a living interior, not only the finished product but we can visualise the entire space, where nails have been hammered in, where the entire image has been constructed on the wall, the entire process and story is presented. This particular piece is a representation of Lichtenstein's interest in the interiors of buildings, a subject he visited most explicitly in his later work. With the use of his signature Ben Day dots, collage and his interest in "the home", Lichtenstein created a series of works that were able to embody abstract qualities and the deconstruction of an object without losing its immediate visual recognition as a particular form and function.

Despite being known for shocking his viewers with the impact of popular culture through the use of the comic strip and employing themes of popular culture, he also incorporated complex art historical concepts such as cubism in his work. Not as an experimentation but as a unique blend of personal style, interest and concept that was able to create a modern and fresh take on a celebrated theorem. Playing on Picasso's original still lives, he not only instituted many of his temple and greek art themes, but used the guitar as a central piece within his work, a nod to history in various ways. He was able to use concepts as well as illusionary tools to nod to history and aesthetic. Each piece in the gallery above is a nod to an art historical movement through the use of the ben day comic strip and collage, staying true to his overall aesthetic and themes.


Things on the Wall , 1973

Cubist Still Life, 1973

Cubist Still Life with Pipe, 1974

Cubist Still Life with Silver Pitcher, 1972

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