Roy Lichtenstein’s creative practice played an active role in elevating post-war American art to international prominence. His Bicentennial Print of 1975 was commissioned for a tribute portfolio titled America: The Third Century. Comprising original prints by a variety of acclaimed artists, the collection honoured the two-hundredth anniversary of the United States. While the proceedings were donated to designated charities, the portfolio’s contents demonstrated the renaissance of American printmaking.
Bicentennial Print presents a vertical canvas divided into three triangular panels. In the style of a triptych, each defined partition is imbued with its own, yet correlated, conceptual value. The panels together depict a schematised visual progression. Lichtenstein here integrates elementary shapes appropriated from nature, industrialism, indigenous heritage, and classic architecture. The angularity of the industrial elements depicted in this print is offset by the curvilinear lines symbolising nature.
Bicentennial Print is an eruption of colours and motion. This print is highly demonstrative of Lichtenstein’s artistic complexity. It is a masterfully orchestrated composition fuelled by the artist’s inclination for social commentary. The abstract patterns and bright pigments complement the philosophical narrative. Bicentennial Print also features themes from Lichtenstein’s Peace Through Chemistry, American Indian series and Entablatures amongst other notable sequences.