Corlett Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints of Roy Lichtenstein

I.20. Water Lilies Series, 1992

Corlett 261–266

In June 1990 Lichtenstein began work at Saff Tech Arts on the bas-relief RLCR 3989, Suspended Mobile (published 1991) and on this series of six prints. There is no related painting series, although Lichtenstein did paint the small canvas RLCR 4088, Water Lilies in 1991. But as Frederic Tuten has pointed out: “One might see this strategy as the culmination of Lichtenstein’s long meditations on reflections, which began in the earliest of his Pop Art work, dating from the 1961 painting Look Mickey (RLCR 643), and extending even to his ceramic cups and heads and carried through in full blown format in his Mirror paintings.” (See Saff Tech Arts and Knoedler 1992.) Of course, in this series Lichtenstein also revisits Monet, to whose work he paid homage in the Cathedral and Haystack series (RLCR 1639─1646 and RLCR 1659─1668) of 1969.

Tuten also notes that the swirl patterns in the metal dashboards that Lichtenstein remembered from the automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s had been a longtime interest of his, but one that had not found expression until the Saff Tech Arts project. At Saff Tech, a method was developed to create the swirls, using a drill press fitted with a rubber end and suspended upside down from the ceiling. Production of the pattern was labor intensive, as each swirl was executed individually.

Sign painter’s enamel was screenprinted on the metal to build a surface of color that is collagelike in appearance. Lichtenstein designed all of the original frames.

Although not fully apparent in photographs, the images transmogrify—reflecting the light and color of the room they occupy, shifting and changing as the prints are viewed from different angles.

(Corlett 2002, p.239)