Roy Lichtenstein’s continuous revision of the landscape genre is an important part of his early artistic oeuvre. Executed in 1966, Sunrise is one of the individual landscape depictions featured in Lichtenstein’s Landscapes, Moonscapes and Seascapes sequence. Incorporating his strong, bold lines and passages of accentuated colour, the print also features the artist’s signature Ben Day dots.
Presented in horizontal format, Sunrise shows a bright yellow disc representing the sun arising in the middle of the composition. Its rays are gathered together in blue beams surrounding the main circular shape in the centre. The yellow tinge of the sun is reflected in the clouds above, while also illuminating the bluish sea stretched out beneath the horizon line. Lichtenstein uses a gradation of blue dots to compose the calm surface of the water.
Sunrise is a rare example of porcelain enamel on perforated steel. Although the work was prepared successively by hand, it was perfected using machines. Lichtenstein’s mechanised process of creation distorts the imagery. Therefore, the composition is as much a sly criticism of consumerism, as it is a pop rendition of a landscape. Lichtenstein conducts a quest for harmony here, sustained by the elementary and associative forms that characterise his interpretation of the sun motif.