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Roy Lichtenstein Woman with Peanuts 1962 oil and graphite on canvas 69 x 45 3/4 in. (175.3 x 116.2 cm.) Signed and dated "rf Lichtenstein '62" on the reverse.
Provenance Leo Castelli Gallery, New York George Segal, New Brunswick, 1963 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York Private Collection Exhibited New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, Twentieth Century Masters, May 4 – June 4, 1994 Literature J. Arp, Twentieth Century Masters, New York: Sidney Janis Gallery, 1994, n.p. E.A. Busche, Roy Lichtenstein: Das Frühwerk 1942 - 1960, Berlin, 1988, p. 239 (illustrated) Video ROY LICHTENSTEIN 'Woman with Peanuts', 1962 Cartoons are really meant for communication. Roy Lichtenstein's fascination with the various motifs used in advertising such as ads for soaps, cooking and an assortment of other products stemmed from the nature of the images themselves. Their aim was amiable communication and Lichtenstein found himself appropriating and manipulating their images to an artistic extent. Zach Miner, head of the Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York, presents Roy Lichtenstein's 'Woman with Peanuts' from 1962. Catalogue Essay “Cartoons are really meant for communication” –Roy Lichtenstein, 1962 from an interview with John Coplans (originally premiering in Artforum 5, no. 9, [May, 1967]) 1962 saw Roy Lichtenstein’s career on the brink of mainstream success. In an era when Abstract Expressionism had damaged populist interest in visual art, relegating it to the realm of esoterica for many, Lichtenstein, along with Andy Warhol and a handful of other Pop artists, was destined to create art that was at once profound and accessible. Drawing his source material from a wealth of advertisement clippings and incorporating material from the entertainment complex as well, Lichtenstein rooted the symbolism of his work in an iconography already intimately familiar to his audience. The fascinating ways with which Lichtenstein manipulated his source imagery, however, is where the mystery of his work lies; it is also the reason why his oeuvre continues to be widely copied and hugely popular today. Woman With Peanuts, 1962, occupies a special place in Lichtenstein’s early work, where his fusion of style, source, and presentation makes for a gorgeous masterpiece. Lichtenstein’s career leading up to Woman With Peanuts, 1962, is well-documented. His various tutelages and disavowed styles illustrate several separate incarnations of an artist prior to his mainstream success of the early 1960s. Lichtenstein was, first and foremost, a brilliant student, one who seamlessly integrated his academic genius into his work. During the 1950s, he oscillated between several discrete styles, negotiating the line between Abstract Expressionism and Cubism. During this period, Lichtenstein assumed the hard-earned skill of a Cubist master, observing Picasso and late Cézanne and exacting their methods in his own work. Yet, as he began to teach during the later half of the decade, the scholarly atmosphere drove his stylings back toward Expressionism, devoid of figure but rich in personal connection. Yet, as the 1960s began, Lichtenstein discovered ways in which to fuse both Abstract Expressionism and Cubism into a form that was very new—and very controversial. Relocating in order to take a teaching post at Rutgers in 1960, Lichtenstein found himself inspired by imagery as a medium—where a familiar image could serve as much of a communicative purpose as a simple brushstroke on the surface of a canvas. Lichtenstein began to draw his material from a variety of sources, including newspapers, ripe with amateur-drafted visions of domesticity and luxury, and magazines, full of cartoonish drawings meant to connect with the reader in as simple a way as was possible. Lichtenstein was attuned to the fact that the language of visual phrase was changing; no longer was the brushstroke the most relatable stimulus, but rather a familiar piece of industrialized comic advertising: “That part of popular culture on which he drew was basically a fund of unattributed images and phrases. He was not engaged in mutual collaboration but in acts of annexation. In the 1950s a
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