From July 3 to November 4, 2013 – Centre Pompidou
We saw it in London, but now the exhibition has finally reached France. The retrospective on Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) will undoubtedly be one of the Summer’s blockbusters, given the artist’s reputation, he who was the first to merge painting and comic strips, to transcend the framework of contemporary art.
“What can you paint that’s not completely ridiculous?” he exclaimed as early as 1972, before bursting out laughing, in the middle of a serious interview about the series of still life paintings he was in the midst of producing. Still lifes inspired by the works of great modern masters. Matisse, Picasso, Léger, Le Corbusier, etc. are referenced or evoked in a title which mentions, if not their name, then the appropriate movement: Cubism for some, Purism for others. In 1972, at the age of 49, Lichtenstein had already been identified as one of the leading lights of the pop art movement for ten years, even though he was unveiling a series of paintings whose references to art history would make him one of the first “postmodern” artists.
The Centre Pompidou today presents a retrospective of his work, featuring a selection of 124 paintings, sculptures and prints that shed an original light on his career. The exhibition reveals the often surprising depth of an artist who was, from the beginning, more than just a pop painter. He was an experimenter of materials, an inventor of icons and an educated connoisseur of modern painting.
As the fourth stop of this exhibition event organised by the Centre Pompidou, in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago and the Tate in London, (and also shown in Washington), the Parisian retrospective shows the incredible technical inventiveness of Roy Lichtenstein through a body of original sculptures, prints, enamels and ceramics.
These experimentations, a little known aspect of his work, demonstrate the research he undertook throughout his career. This exhibition has enjoyed exceptional support from the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein in New York.