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Woman: Sunlight, Moonlight
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About the object

Woman: Sunlight, Moonlight is one of Roy Lichtenstein’s most important sculptures, and one of his most important late works. Certainly, it is one of the most significant three-dimensional works the artist ever made to have come to auction. Throughout his career, Lichtenstein made a complex body of sculpture, producing a number of works that were, for the most part, based on images one finds in the artist’s paintings. If Lichtenstein’s paintings engage the viewer in questions of visual perception; of subverting the illusion of representation, then his sculptures continue this investigation, but now in three dimensions. The challenge thus became a little more difficult to achieve. Certainly, Lichtenstein’s sculpture has extended and played on his fascination with various conventions of commercial art and high art – both the painting and the sculpture are brightly colored and often built up out of Benday dots. Thus, the mechanical perfection of the slickly painted bronze can be seen to echo the perfect blocks of oil and magna on the canvases. Interestingly, the sculpture also serves to reinforce the role of the two-dimensional image as object. Much of Lichtenstein’s sculpture sees forms that look as flat as the paintings which inspired them. These plastic commentaries on visual perception may be seen as “… concrete versions of the artist’s basic graphic painting techniques. Ironies abound, Lichtenstein’s signature lines become three-dimensional and concrete, and the painted and patinated bronze sculptures are as inescapably pictorial as the paintings. The crucial difference is that the spaces we ‘read’ on canvases are real in the sculptures … But with both the concrete and the insubstantial, everything depends on the precision of the image, and here Lichtenstein is the master.” (Nancy Spector, “Plane Talk: Notes on Roy Lichtenstein’s Sculptures” in Exh. Cat., Washington D.C., National Gallery, Lichtenstein: Sculpture and Drawings, 1999, p. 33).\nThe artist’s technique when making sculpture was rigorous. He would begin by making small sketches – visual ideas – which were either borrowed or imagined forms. He would then make a paper collage which would, with the help of studio assistants, soon become a small working model. This was adjusted before he and the assistants went on to create a full-scale maquette that was used to create sand or lost-wax molds for casting in bronze. The work would then be painted at a later stage with weather-resistant colors.\n\nThe present work incorporates much of the spirit of Lichtenstein’s bathos-laden early painting. It comes from the painting, Nude with Bust (1995), where a slim nude, depicted in black and white, with red lips and green eyes, kneels in a chair. On the table before her is a shoulder-length bust of a young blond woman, her head leaning back, eyes closed, vivid red lips seductively open. As in the painting, the sculpture is dismembered at the shoulders and set upon a Neoclassical socle. Unlike he painted progenitor, the sculpture is, of course, two-sided. When placed looking to the left, the cool “moonlight” version is visible. The hair is blue, as are the Benday dots. Only the red lips punctuate this nocturne. The “sunlight” version shows the same figure, in the same repose, but now with golden hair and red Benday dots describing her sun-kissed skin. Relations, sexuality, polarities, illusion, the Gaze and Symbol are all addressed in this seemingly simple sculpture.\nSigned, dated 96 and numbered 4/6
US
NY, US
US

medium

Painted and patinated bronze

creator

Roy Lichtenstein

dimensions

39 5/8 by 25 1/4 by 1 1/8 in.

exhibition

Mexico City, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Roy Lichtenstein, Escultura, Pintura Y Grafica, July - October 1998, p. 184-85, another example illustrated Rome, Chiostro Del Bramante; Wolfsburg, Kunstmuseum; Milan, Padiglione Art Contemporanea, Roy Lichtenstein: The Mirror and the Reflected Image, 1999 Washington, D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Roy Lichtenstein: Sculpture & Drawing, 1999, cat. no. 165, p. 196, another example illustrated in color North Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art, Inside/Outside, December 2001 - February 2002, cat. no. 34a and 34b, another example illustrated in color

literature

Diane Waldman, "Lichtenstein a Roma: Sogni Allo Specchio", Arte e Dossier, January 2000, no. 152, pp. 6-9 Guiliano Serafini, "Lichtenstein", Art Dossier, No. 152, front page, another example illustrated in color

provenance

Leo Castelli Gallery, New York Acquired by the present owner from the above

signedDate

Signed, dated 96 and numbered 4/6

creator_nationality_dates

1923 - 1997


*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.

*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.


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