Corlett Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints of Roy Lichtenstein

I.9. Entablature Series, 1976

Corlett 138–148

Between 1971 and 1976 Lichtenstein produced two series of Entablature paintings, using photographs of architectural ornament he had taken in New York as the starting point for his compositions (see Cowart 1981b). The first Entablature paintings (1971–72) were black and white. The second group used color and were produced at roughly the same time the Entablature series of prints were in production at Tyler Graphics Ltd., 1974–76.

The first discussions between Lichtenstein and Kenneth Tyler concerning the Entablature prints took place in May 1974. As recorded in the Tyler Graphics Catalogue Raisonné, 1974–1985 (Tyler 1987), technical research for the project began in September 1974 and production was completed in April 1976. Lichtenstein produced one or more collages for each print in the series to serve as models for the plates and screens.

Both the Entablature paintings and the Entablature prints are intimately concerned with texture—the metallic paint and sand of the paintings, the foils and embossing/debossing techniques employed in the prints. The imagery itself—machined architectural ornament—takes technology as its subject. As Barbara Rose suggests, “That industrialism disrupted our notion of style as much as reproduction altered our conception of representation appears to be the subject of Lichtenstein’s Entablatures” (Barbara Rose 1976). (See also the brief New York Times article (Glueck 1976), which is mostly about Tyler Graphics Ltd. but begins with a reference to the complexity of these prints; and Boorsch 1977, p. 110).

For each print in this series, the Tyler Graphics Ltd. catalogue raisonné (cited above) gives exact method and press types, as well as the initials of the printers for each run. To complete certain phases of the project, Tyler employed the following companies: Drake Engineering, Danbury, Connecticut (for machining of the metal die); Swan Engraving, Bridgeport, Connecticut (for plate processing); Tallix Foundry, Beacon, New York (for bronze casting); and Tompkins Tooling, Gardena, California (for machining of the metal die). The ten embossing plates for the series are now in the collection of the National Gallery, Canberra, Australia.

(Corlett 2002, p. 142)