It’s Roy Lichtenstein week at the Art Institute of Chicago — and on The Modern Art Notes Podcast! This week’s program features James Rondeau, the head of the contemporary art department at the Art Institute of Chicago, talking about his new Lichtenstein retrospective. Rondeau co-organized the exhibition with Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Sheena Wagstaff.
“The big influence is Picasso,” Roy Lichtenstein said in 1996, the year before he died. And for most of Lichtenstein’s career — especially the early years — Picasso was. But by 1969, when he started his mirror paintings, Lichtenstein seems to have begun thinking about Matisse. Come 1973, when Lichtenstein made Artist’s Studio No. 1 (Look Mickey!), he seems to have completely bought into Matisse.
Artist’s Studio No. 1 (Look Mickey!) (click image above to enlarge) is a riff on Matisse’s famed ‘studio’ paintings, in which Matisse would paint his own previous works lying around a room, often his studio. This Lichtenstein is richly informed by Matisse’s The Red Studio (1911). Note that Lichtenstein placed the stretcher-revealing rear of a painting (a riff on not just Matisse, but on Lichtenstein’s own 1968 Stretcher paintings) in roughly the same part of the canvas Matisse does. The paintings on the rear wall are in roughly the same places Matisse put them. That jug that appears in so many Matisses. And so on.
The exhibition is the first career-length survey of Lichtenstein’s art and the first retrospective of the artist in 18 years. Currently in member previews, the show opens at the AIC on May 22 before traveling to the National Gallery of Art, the Tate Modern and to the Centre Pompidou.
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Image: Roy Lichtenstein, Artist’s Studio No. 1 (Look Mickey!), 1973. Collection of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
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