Roy Lichtenstein’s Red And Yellow Appleof 1983 belongs to his Seven Apple Woodcuts, a humorous revision of two major art historical practices. Lichtenstein in this sequence interrogates the act of touching brush against canvas, as idolised by the abstract expressionists. Additionally, he also reflects on the enduring status of still lifes, as immortalised by renaissance and impressionist masters in particular.
The Seven Apple Woodcuts are abstracted versions of Lichtenstein’s previous Six Still Lifes of 1974. The series also serves as the conceptual predecessor of Lichtenstein’s Brushstroke Faces of 1989. Expressive sweeps of colour are the vehicles, with which Lichtenstein reconsiders the formal qualities of still lifes and the authority given to painterly gestures of the past.
Red And Yellow Appledisplays energetic strokes situated on a simple off-white background, devoid of patterns. Prompted by the title, the observer visualises two fruits, however, in reality, only one red apple is portrayed, while the other is symbolised by bright yellow streaks. Red And Yellow Apple proves that it isn’t necessary to figuratively capture both shapes, in order for audience’s to recognise the subject matter. Lichtenstein keenly embraces a sense of technical finesse with which he engages in a simulated process of painting. As a result, the beholder forgets that the print was in fact executed as a woodcut.