Roy Lichtenstein’s early oeuvre derived many of his subject matter from cartoon imagery and magazine advertisements. Gradually, the artist began broadening his thematic content by investigating modern art movements, classical genres, and commercial design.
Lichtenstein’s first creative exploration into the principles of still life painting commenced in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. His Six Still Lifesand Seven Apple Woodcuts manifest colourful excursions into the diverse history of the still life genre.
Between 1977 and 1980, Lichtenstein executed a series of freestanding sculptures, prints, and paintings fusing traditional still life motifs and interiors. One woodcut edition titled Picture And Pitcher of 1981 presents a framed picture and a water pitcher situated on a stool. Embracing the decorative qualities of still lifes, Lichtenstein renders his print according to a pronounced commercial aesthetic. As such, the work utilises the artist’s trademark style of thick black outlines and flat areas of colour.
Picture And Pitcher joins the conventions of old master portraits with a strong fauvist colour palette and an abstracted layout. Lichtenstein’s flattened execution of the composition comically subverts the very notion of dimension. This still life parody is complete with the work’s humorous title, poking fun at the common mispronunciations of ‘picture’ and ‘pitcher’.