Roy Lichtenstein’s highly innovative Entablature series of the 1970s combines complex screen printed and lithographed areas, embossed with glossy and matte metal foils. This limited and signed edition of 30 prints presents a richly textured illusionistic play on 20th century American architecture.
Roy Lichtenstein’s Entablature series of 1976 is an investigation into pattern and repetition. Named for the horizontal structures that rest atop Classical Greek columns, Lichtenstein’s Entablatures convey a distinctly industrialised and American appropriation of architecture. The architectural elements in the Entablature series provide the artist with ready-made designs, similar to the comic strip and advertisement sources he applied in other artistic endeavours.
The pop artist’s preceding interest in the replication of cultural institutions can be detected in his Cathedral series, created only a few years prior. The artist draws on his own photographs capturing the midday facades of various Lower Manhattan institutions. Isolating the culturally coded symbols found on these early 20th century buildings, Lichtenstein’s Entablatures are complete portraits depicting partial subjects.
He presents his chosen motifs in a reductive and repetitive manner, commenting on architecture’s historical preference of uniformity. Additionally, Lichtenstein also directs criticism at Minimalism’s push for impassive artistic expression.
The silver, blue, black and ash grey motifs displayed in Entablature IX are elongated and thin, drawing a physical analogy to the original architecture they were predicated on. The horizontal flow of the ornamentation is also suggestive of such a parallel, alluding to an uninterrupted continuation of the pattern beyond the printed sheet.