Like his Pop contemporaries, Roy Lichtenstein disrupted artistic traditions of the past, particularly those of the Abstract Expressionists who preceded him. He drew inspiration from 1960s consumer advertising and mass media. Lichtenstein’s Water Lilies is an important example of the ways in which he applied his aesthetic to a breadth of subjects and genres. In this series, Lichtenstein reinterprets impressionist Claude Monet’s “Nymphéas” using his unique syntax of stylistic motifs.
In Water Lilies – Pink Flower, Lichtenstein’s use of swirled reflective panels, layered forms, vertical panels of Ben Day dots, and diagonal lines combine to create the composition. The visuals suggest movement, light and shadow. Water Lilies - Pink Flower demonstrates Lichtenstein’s innovative approach to printing processes and materials. When creating his Water Lilies, the artist was also inspired by the dashboards of 1920s and 1930s cars.
While restricting himself to a language of formal elements, Lichtenstein innovatively experimented with enamel, Plexiglas, Mylar, and Rowlux. In a labour-intensive process, a drill press was suspended upside down from the ceiling and fitted with a round slug of shoe rubber. Each swirl was then created individually using a new rubber slug, in order to ensure all swirls were rendered with the same crisp precision and uniformity.