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Gemini G.E.L.: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1966–2005
Roy Lichtenstein

From his first collaboration with Gemini in 1969, Lichtenstein generally worked in series there, exploring variations on a single theme such as in his Cathedral Series (31.1–31.8). Sources for both his prints and sculpture are found in commercial art and in modernist traditions, including cubism (Modern Head #1 [31.23]) and expressionism (Head [31.72]). Transformed by Lichtenstein, images from fine and commercial art sources coexist, redefining the sources from which art derives. Flattened, schematic forms, dots, and stripes, and bright, rich colors are all essential to Lichtenstein's visual effects.

His earlier prints, such as the Bull Profile Series (31.44–31.49), depended in large measure upon mechanical printmaking methods that yielded flat, unmodulated surfaces. Lichtenstein later explored different techniques and materials: in lithography, he drew directly onto plates and stones; he also explored the woodcut, a process that offers distinctively rich surface effects. For his Expressionist Woodcuts (31.62–31.75) and the wood blocks for his Paintings Series (31.76–31.83), the artist carved all of the essential edges that delineated form while the workshop staff cleared away more generalized areas.

During his long relationship with Gemini, Lichtenstein developed increasingly large-scale serial projects. The Imperfect Series (31.93–31.99) was a collection of massive works constructed around tongue-in-cheek imperfections. For example, in Imperfect 67" x 79 7/8" (31.96), the triangular point at the right and the small red band at the bottom skipped beyond the perimeter of the perfect rectangle to invade the print border. Another set of oversized prints was his Interior Series (31.101–31.108) composed of stylized drawings of rooms that the artist appropriated from the classified telephone book in Rome. In prints such as Blue Floor (31.108), Lichtenstein magnified the original image to approach the dimensions of a full-sized room while augmenting the original source material by using stylized motifs such as broken lines for reflection, sponging for foliage, interwoven squiggles for wood grain, as well as parallel diagonals and Benday dots to create tone.

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Lichtenstein, Modern Head #1 (31.23)

Lichtenstein, Two Paintings (31.80)

Lichtenstein, Imperfect 67 x 79 7/8 (31.96)

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