Roy Lichtenstein’s Sandwich And Soda is from the Ten Works By Ten Paintersportfolio. Executed in 1964, this cartoonish portrait is the very definition of the perfect American image. Screenprinted on a sheet of polystyrene, the work constitutes one of Lichtenstein's earliest pop illustrations manufactured on plastic.
Sandwich And Soda is simultaneously satirical and celebratory, referencing the banalities of everyday life, as well as the idealised nature of print advertisements. Lichtenstein’s iconic diner scene represents an entire cultural period, portraying the epitome of mid-20th century Americana. The artist renders his minimalist composition in the fully patriotic colour scheme of glossy red and blue. The canvas is adorned by the sharp outlines and gradated dots characteristic of popular printing methods. Presented in the manner of fine art, Sandwich and Soda’s enlarged and centered imagery captures a wistful still life.
Lichtenstein’s sanitised illustration of a triangle sandwich and a soda for two merges reality and artificiality; high art and mass culture. Sandwich And Soda is a striking example of the artist’s mastery of the advertising techniques of the post-war period. The work showcases Lichtenstein’s insightful perspective on the ready-made qualities of commercial art and the consumerist culture of 1960s America.