Roy Lichtenstein’s Still Life (C. 310) of 1997 was commissioned for The Geldzahler portfolio, honouring curator and critic Henry Geldzahler. The project was undertaken after Geldzahler’s premature death and in support of the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS.
Still Life (C. 310) showcases a similarly abstracted layout as Still Life With Red Jar from a few years prior. Examining the long-standing tradition of still lifes, the print was inspired by Lichtenstein’s previous Six Still Lifes and Seven Apple Woodcuts of the 1970s and 1980s. Focusing on the elementary characteristics of still life painting, the artist crops close on his depicted subject matter. He reduces his still life rendition to a minimalist portrait of apples, a cutting board and a vase.
Imbuing his scene with an underlying comedy, Lichtenstein coats his forms in unexpected pigments and bends them out of shape. The artist’s use of vivid stripes and graduated dots supply volume and dimension to his otherwise flattened canvas. Still Life (C. 310) actively exploits the inherent abstract qualities of Lichtenstein’s own pictorial language. With this print, Lichtenstein reflects on the enduring influence of a principal art historical genre, while also showcasing his own pop spin on it.