Frolic in the Tate Lichtenstein Exhibition

Another day, another Tate.

Over 125 artworks by Roy Lichtenstein are currently on display at Tate Modern, in the first major retrospective of his work for 20 years.

Best known for his comic strip paintings, the American pop artist (1923-1997) became a leading figure in the new art movement during the 1960’s.

Though, according to his wife, Dorothy Lichtenstein, the artist was not a fan of comic books;

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] ” [/dropcap](He) was not a fan of comics and cartoons. It seemed about as far away from the artistic image as you can get. And to transform that into a formal painting appealed to him.”
Unlike most of his counterparts, Lichtenstein enjoyed painting from 2D images of an object as opposed to painting from the object itself. Toying with what he referred to as ‘reproduction,’ he also had fun playing with ideas and styles of other artists works, often putting his own comedic twist on famous pieces – and again, this accounts to his working from 2D.

One such piece is Frolic, Inspired by Pablo Picasso’s Bather with Beach Ball.


Roy Lichtenstein: Frolic

Picasso Bather with Beach Ball

Picasso: Bather with Beach Ball





There are clear similarities to be found with the figures and the cabana – the later of which featured heavily in Picasso’s work during the 1920’s and likely refers to what was his own holiday hut (which is speculated to have seen its fair share of sexual liaisons.) The hint of a question mark at the top of Frolic could be there to keep us guessing.

We can also see reference to Dali’s surrealist style of painting, plus of course Lichtenstein’s own, with his Ben-Day dots and the sweep of yellow hair that is depicted in his earlier works and refers to a paint stroke – a paint stroke of a paint stroke of course.

Other highlights of the exhibition include a display of brass sculptures, inspired by his love of jazz in room 6, plus the Late Nudes series in room 11, taking influence from Galatea and seductively reducing the female form down to hair, breasts and belly.

It’s an enjoyable, colourful collection of works that are inquisitive to a variety of artistic techniques and compositions, not only that of his great comic book pop art.
Visit the Exhibition: Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

Co-organised by The Art Institute of Chicago and Tate Modern

On display until 27th May 2013

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