Roy Lichtenstein's artistic practice was in equal measures inspired by innovation and retrospection. Between the years of 1965 and 1996, he frequently revised the formal qualities of the landscape genre. The resulting Landscapes, Moonscapes and Seascapes are a testament to Lichtenstein’s creative singularity. As part of this extensive project, the artist completed several autonomous portfolios.
Moonscape (C. 212) was executed in 1985 and belongs to Lichtenstein’s Landscapes suites. The work depicts a fictitious coastal scene framed by slanted trees. Their lush green crowns are ruffled by the evening breeze. Two female figures are situated on the right-hand side of the composition. One is seated on the ground, while the other one stands guard behind. They appear to be observing the water, admiring the yellow moon reflected against the dark blue waves. The print unites vibrant hand-painted components with Lichtenstein’s simplistic machine-made shapes. Consequently, the layout becomes similarly abstracted as the artist’s concurrent Brushstroke Faces.
Besides dissecting the traditional features of landscape painting, Lichtenstein’s Landscapes series integrates an additional referential layer. The explosive pastel-toned and primary coloured portraits in this suite imitate the idealised brushwork of the abstract expressionists. The emotive sweeps mimic nature in motion, while also critiquing the authenticity granted painterly gestures in the past.