Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

  • What a relief! An exhibition where you don’t need to read the explanation on the wall before you know what the work is supposed to be about. It’s all there for you in the painting. Lictenstein has left nothing that needs to be explained or based on a post-modernist philosophy - it’s just there in front of your eyes vibrating in the dots and the colours.



    Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) 
    Still Life with Goldfish, 1972 
    Oil and Magna on canvas 
    Private collection 
    © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2012

     

    The exhibition is impressive to me as an artist as you can see how he followed every idea he had through to a final piece of work. Some pieces are really successful, like the war and romance iconic pop paintings. Some are less successful, like the Perfect/Imperfect series where he bounces a line around the canvas and fills in the resulting shapes.

     

     

    Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997 
    Oh, Jeff…I Love You, Too…But… 1964 
    Collection Simonyi 
    © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2012

     

    There’s so much to take in it’s overwhelming - huge painting after huge successful painting - in some ways I think some of them are too big, and the more distance you can get from them the better. There’s also curious earlier works where he paints landscapes, one on differing layers of glass - it’s a constant search and each part of the search finished pristinely. The more you linhger the more it seeps satisfactorily and beautifully into your soul, the dots shimmering and the colours bold and startling.



    Seascape c.1965 
    Oil and Magna on canvas 
    Private collection 
    © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2012

     

    I just love the brilliant paintings about other artists and the late nudes are huge and awesome. He just spent his time working on the paintings, and not writing his artist's statement - and that’s what made him successful and famous.



    Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997 
    Blue Nude 1995 
    Private Collection 
    © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2012

     

    Lictenstein - A Retrospective runs until 27 May at Tate Modern

     

    Review by Robert Dunt - Founder of ArtTop10 and artist www.robertdunt.com