Pop icon Roy Lichtenstein was born 1923 in New York City. The artist grew up surrounded by music and was a frequent visitor of jazz clubs and concert halls throughout his life.Lichtenstein played the clarinet in his youth, and learnt the saxophone at the age of 70, only a few years prior to his death. The musical undertones present in his earlier Brushstroke Faces hint modestly at this everlasting passion.
The prints in his Composition series from the mid 1990s approach the subject matter head on and depict the musical notes of an imaginary music sheet being liberated from their usual linear constraints. Lichtenstein presents an arrangement of looping musical notations, situated on coloured areas of bright yellow and vivid red, supported by the artist’s signature diagonal lines.
Composition IV from 1995 can be regarded as a predecessor of Lichtenstein’s three part screen prints published in 1996 titledComposition I, Composition II and Composition III. Interestingly enough, Composition IV constitutes the final stage of an abstraction process, seeing as the main composition is reduced to a select few waves of black and red detailed notes and staves. On account of its distilled disposition of visual elements, the Composition series acts as a subtle nod to Lichtenstein’s Bulls series from two decades prior.