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Roy Lichtenstein: Explosion - Signed Print

Signed Print

Roy Lichtenstein


This estimate blends recent public auction records with our own private sale data and network demand.

Lithograph, 1967
Signed Print Edition of 100
H 56cm x W 43cm

Critical Review

Beginning in the early 1960s, Roy Lichtenstein began borrowing images of explosions from popular war comics for use in his paintings. He was interested in the way dynamic events like explosions were depicted in the stylised format of cartoon illustrations. On the one hand, the subject matter embodies the revolutionary nature of Pop Art. At the same time, the topic suggests the very real threat of annihilation by a nuclear explosion that was prevalent at that time.

Executed as part of Portfolio 9 in 1967, Explosion pays tribute to the mass-produced perfection of its commercial source material. Lichtenstein refines and enlarges his shape to fit a fine art context, obscuring the border between different modes and hierarchies of representation. The artist combines vivid primary colours, harsh black outlines, and carefully plotted Ben Day dots in his portrayal of a perfectly calculated explosion.

The work functions as a reaction against the pretensions of art history and as a critical reflection on warfare. Similar to Lichtenstein’s explosive Whaam! and As I Opened Fire, the work is also a nod to the artist’s own years spent in the army. Explosion showcases the artist’s striking formal vocabulary, making this work a typical example of his creative oeuvre.

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