Illustration For De Nouveau Au Dessus De Denver is one of ten prints created by Roy Lichtenstein in 1992 to illustrate La Nouvelle Chute de l'Amérique, a French edition of Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America. In his 1965 collection of poetry, Ginsberg, the prominent voice of the Beats generation, reflects upon the mid-century mass culture, creating a counternarrative to the myth of the American dream. Underlying the poet’s work is the awareness of pitfalls and dangers looming over society that enters the age of abundance while relinquishing memories of its difficult past.
Lichtenstein’s print resonates with these social issues as it showcases minimalist forms and sombre colours that depart starkly from the garish palette of his early works inspired by popular culture. The subject matter of the print is a scene of the setting sun. Series of diagonal lines are used in this print to compose multiple horizon layers. Right at the centre of the print lies the setting sun, represented simplistically as a large red dot enclosed by a thick contour.
Like other prints in the series, Illustration For De Nouveau Au Dessus De Denver was numbered and signed by Lichtenstein and Ginsberg in pencil. Compared with the buoyancy and brightness of the Landscapes, Moonscapes, Seascapes series, Lichtenstein’s late foray into landscape genre strikes with the aura of darkness and cultural anxiety.