Roy Lichtenstein is known for his Pop art paintings derived from comic strips and advertisements, but his later work also drew on well-known masterpieces of art history. The ten paintings in this exhibition offer a rare chance to look closely at Lichtenstein’s interaction with impressionist Claude Monet’s iconic Rouen Cathedral series.
Monet painted his sensually beautiful series of the façade at Rouen Cathedral in 1892–93, depicting the same view at different times of day and in different weather. He painstakingly built up stroke after stroke into superb effects of sunlight playing on the stone tracery of the Gothic church. Lichtenstein responded 75 years later by reducing this intricate approach to a dot pattern silk-screened over a ground color, transforming Monet’s brushwork and complex transcription of light through the modern means of mass-market printing and reproduction. Enjoy the fascinating interplay between the two great interpreters of a classic subject, each groundbreaking in his time.
ABOVE LEFT: Monet, painting from a hotel room opposite the Rouen Cathedral, responded to the changing light on its stone façade, depicted in full sunlight here in Rouen Cathedral Façade (1894). RIGHT: Lichtenstein approached Monet’s imagery from a distance. In his studio, working from black-and-white photographs of Monet’s paintings, he produced a series of silkscreened canvases, including Rouen Cathedral (Seen at Five Different Times of the Day) Set III (1969) pictured here.