In the mid-1960s, Roy Lichtenstein put his renowned comic book motifs on hold in favour of exploring the traditions of landscape painting. He worked on his Landscapes, Moonscapes and Seascapes for over three decades. As part of the extensive project, the artist completed several autonomous portfolios.
Landscape 9 belongs to Lichtenstein’s Ten Landscapes of 1967, a grouping of fictitious nature scenes. The ten-part suite employs a distinct pop aesthetic, transforming landscapes into a brilliant superimposition of colours, contours and shapes. Landscape 9 displays a densely streaked waterscape. Its black and white stencil waves are contrasted against a delicate photographic backdrop depicting cloudy skies.
There are subtle transitions at work in this print, resulting in the most painterly edition of the Ten Landscapes portfolio. Lichtenstein allows the hand-made elements and the machine-made forms to blend seamlessly together. He introduces plastic Rowlux sheets that mimic the shimmer of light reflected on the water’s surface. The synthetic fabric supports the emerging and intersecting patterns, while also invoking a sense of movement.
Reflectivity and perception soon became significant subjects for Lichtenstein. In fact, his quest to create illusionistic effects using experimental materials continued throughout his career. For instance, he pursued comparable optical plays in his intricate Mirrors and later Water Lilies.