I thought I’d take a cue from Robby’s post last week about Lichtenstein’s only film, Three Landscapes, and Joe's post about the Lichtenstein catalogue (see the cover) and look a little closer at the series of painted landscapes in the exhibition.
In this series, which he worked on from 1964 through 1971, Lichtenstein has seemingly left the comic book imagery from the earlier part of the decade behind. But alas! Instead of altogether abandoning the cartoon scenarios, he has simply looked to the background, the landscapes and seascapes behind the action.
This shift actually fits in quite nicely with his interest in art history and the history of landscape painting as a genre of fine art. He was also drawn to clichéd or dated subjects, and the genre of landscape seemed appealingly remote from the avant-garde concerns of the time.
The painting above, Seascape, includes the halftone dots that we’ve become familiar with, but the content is pared down from the war and romance paintings from earlier in the decade. Just a few lines are used to indicate the difference between land and sky and the reflection of light, creating a moment of quiet contemplation for the viewer.