Executed in 1990, Red Lamps belongs to Roy Lichtenstein’s intricate Interior series. Completed towards the end of the artist’s career, the sequence was inspired by clippings and images collected from ordinary furniture advertisements. This signed woodcut and screen print on museum board was manufactured as part of a limited edition of 60.
Lichtenstein’s Interior works of the early 1990s takes the ultimate image of quotidian domesticity as its main subject matter. The intricate collection is rendered in the artist’s characteristic palette of bold primary colours, delineated outlines, and Ben Day dots. The prints reflect the artist’s fascination with the paradoxical relationship between fine art and design. The sequence is also a unique manifestation of the varied conceptual ideas and technical skills Lichtenstein honed throughout his career.
A recurring theme in the Interior seriesis the inclusion of works by other contemporary artists. In the present work, Red Lamps from 1990, a painting that clearly references Jackson Pollock’s work appears hanging on the wall on the right-hand side of the composition. This work is characterised by a highly stylised aesthetic. It transforms a mundane interior into a portrait of defined contouring, regimented patterns, and block colours. Cropping close on his forms, Lichtenstein makes use of a flat surface plane and a distorted perspective.
The references and the visual language self-consciously establish Lichtenstein alongside his peers. Theirs was a contemporary tradition that recognised the artistic potential of the aesthetics of popular culture. The print also demonstrates the profound awareness Lichtenstein had of art history, and of his crucial position within it.