Roy Lichtenstein was commissioned to create Oval Office in conjunction with the 1992 Clinton/Gore election campaign. The work was featured as part of the Artists for Freedom of Expression project and benefitted the Democratic National Committee. Later, Lichtenstein’s contribution was chosen as one of six commemorative posters by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.Lichtenstein spent a long while studying the interior of the actual Oval Office at the White House. His main objective was to capture and reproduce the exact decor of the space.
The artist uses bright colours, bold black outlines, and a few Ben Day dots to accent his otherwise linear composition. Lichtenstein adds authentic decorative details to the room, as well as his referential versions of the actual paintings that once hung there. For instance, a cartoon rendition of the American flag is mounted on a wall on the right, alluding to the artist’s ownForms In Space from 1985.
Akin to Inaugural Print and I Love Liberty, the work harnesses the cultural saturation of popular imagery. Embracing a polished and mass-produced aesthetic, Lichtenstein’s take on this notorious room stylises and modernises the space. The artist’s highly illustrative and colourful representation of the presidential office is a classic example of his captivating Pop Art.