Born and raised in New York City, Roy Lichtenstein came to prominence in the 1960s as a pioneer of Pop Art. His comic book style illustrations feature his characteristic Ben Day dots, stripes and primary colours, aiming to elevate products of printmaking into the realm of fine art.
Lichtenstein’s mother was a gifted piano player. The artist himself played the clarinet as a child and learned to play the saxophone shortly before his death in 1997. As an ardent lover of jazz in particular, Lichtenstein hints at his passion for music already in his early prints of the 1960s. His Brushstroke Faces, for instance, reveal clever musical undertones. Alluding to the abstraction process applied in his Bulls series, Lichtenstein’s Composition series from the mid 1990s convey his passion for music ever so directly.
Composition II, in line with Composition I, responds to the improvisatory nature of music, presenting arrangements of curving musical notations. The overall composition zooms in on the red detailed black notes and looping staves, which are set against an area of magnified dots and stripes in the primary colours of blue, yellow and red. Eggshell, royal blue and pale cyan coloured bits peek through the background of the work’s landscape format.