Through an exceptional selection of over a hundred major works, the Centre Pompidou
will present the first complete Roy Lichtenstein retrospective (1923-1997) in France.
This show will invite the public to acquire a new perspective on this emblematic figure of American Pop Art, going beyond Pop precisely in order to reconsider Lichtenstein as one of the first post-modern painters. From his very first iconic paintings inspired by comics and 1960s popular culture, to works displaying his ongoing dialogue with the Grand Masters of modern painting and classical art, the exhibition offers a new take on the highlights in the career of a leading figure of the postwar art scene.
A pop painter, Roy Lichtenstein was also eager to experiment with materials, to invent icons and pictorial codes which blurred the lines between figurative and abstract art, between pictorial and 3-dimensional objects. His work as a painter kept feeding upon his early practice of sculpture and ceramics as well as his passion for prints. A connoisseur of modern art, he was fascinated above all by Picasso, Matisse and Léger all of whom he quotes in a number of his works. Towards the end of his life, Lichtenstein returned to the traditional genres of classical painting: the nude, still-life and landscape.
The power of Lichtensteins work lies very much in his amused, critical yet never cynical aloofness that is unique to him and characterizes his whole career. The exhibition invites the public to rediscover this aspect of the artist.
The prominence of sculptures and etchings distinguishes the Parisian show from those in the Art Institute of Chicago, The National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Tate Modern in London. The exhibition at Centre Pompidou reveals Lichtensteins exceptional artistic and technical inventiveness through a body of works which have never been shown in France.