Corlett Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints of Roy Lichtenstein

I.6. Mirror Series, 1972

Corlett 106–114

Mirrors were an important subject in Lichtenstein’s paintings and prints of the early 1970s. From late 1969 to 1972 he painted over forty canvases depicting this subject. The first print was in 1970, with RLCR 3602, Twin Mirrors for the Guggenheim Museum. In 1972 he also produced RLCR 2031, Mirror at Styria Studio, in addition to this Gemini G.E.L. series of nine prints. In the mid-seventies he took up the subject in sculpture, and he returned to it in prints as recently as 1990, with RLCR 3904, Mirror. In addition, he has often explored the related theme of reflections, incorporating them in various paintings and in several print series: Reflections (1990), Interiors (1990, published 1991), and Water Lilies (1992).

This Gemini group utilizes lithography, screenprint, line-cut, and embossing; Mirror #1 incorporates the reflective surface of silver-foil collage. Line-cut, a process of relief printing, and embossing are used in the first four prints of the series, sharpening the edges of the forms. In an interview with Lawrence Alloway, Lichtenstein noted: “You know, I am always impressed by how artificial things look—like descriptions of office furniture in newspapers. It is the most dry kind of drawing, as in the Mirrors. They really only look like mirrors if someone tells you they do. Only once you know that, they may be moved as far as possible from realism, but you want it to be taken for realism. It becomes as stylized as you can get away with, in an ordinary sense, not stylish.” (Alloway 1983a, p. 106–7.)  As Jack Cowart has commented: “One would not actually stand in front of a Lichtenstein Mirror to straighten one’s hat, but one does think about it.” (Cowart 1981b, p. 25.)

(Corlett 2002, p.121)