In his Water Lilies of 1992, Roy Lichtenstein explores some of the key themes that would come to define his practice. This celebrated limited edition of screenprints on stainless steel demonstrates the artist’s intellectual dialogue with art history and the concept of image-making.
Throughout his career, Lichtenstein challenged himself to reimagine traditional artistic subjects and art historical genres using his own unique stylistic language. In this series, Lichtenstein pays homage to impressionist Claude Monet’s “Nymphéas” oil paintings.
Water Lilies with Japanese Bridge is striking due to its complex composition of layered abstract forms. Using a palette of flat synthetic primary colours, simplified shapes, Ben Day dots, and diagonal lines, the artist reinterprets the impressionistic landscape. Within the piece, the artist creates an imitation of texture using stylised shapes and patterns of different colours. These dense forms suggest vegetation and wood grain as well as the rippled and refracted surface of the water.
The artist further plays with perspective; the placement of flat layered forms, such as the bridge in the upper part of the piece and the cloud in the lower right. Mirroring the composition of Water Lilies with Cloudof the same series, he makes it possible to read the image from above and beneath the surface of the water.