Roy Lichtenstein was born and raised in New York, and was an essential figure in the development of Pop Art. He came to prominence in the 1960s, creating comic book style artworks using his characteristic Ben Day dots, stripes and primary colours. Printmaking remained an integral part of his practice, starting in the late 1950s and lasting well into the 1990s.
As the son of a gifted piano player, the pop artist grew up surrounded by music. Playing a variety of instruments himself, like the clarinet and the saxophone, he frequently visited jazz clubs and concert halls during his lifetime. Lichtenstein hints at his passion for music already in his early prints of the 1960s, see the sly musical undertones present in his Brushstroke Faces as a striking example. This enduring interest is explicitly manifested in his Composition screenprints dating from the mid 1990s.
Composition I exhibits an array of looping musical notations winding around the canvas.The black and dark red illustrations of notes and curving staves are set against waves of royal blue, pale cyan and bright yellow. Lichtenstein’s signature diagonal lines and dots are situated beneath the vertical format, along the left side of the print. Composition I captures an imaginary music sheet in its entirety, while the two other prints in the Composition series reference Lichtenstein’s Bulls seriesin their intimation of an abstraction process.