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Brushstroke with Spatter

Oil painting in cartoon style of gigantic, close-up brushstroke of paint, blue spatter.
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

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  • Oil painting in cartoon style of gigantic, close-up brushstroke of paint, blue spatter.




Roy Lichtenstein
American, 1923-1997

About this artwork

Roy Lichtenstein rose to prominence at the beginning of the 1960s and became one of the best-known practitioners of Pop Art. His brightly painted canvases depicting everyday objects, as well as scenes of war and romance culled from the pages of contemporary comics, were rendered in stylized black outlines and hand-painted Ben Day dots that mimicked the commercial printing process. Thus he seemed to elevate what was often seen as low art—both its quotidian, affective subject matter and its visual terms—into high art. This was never simply a straightforward process of reversal, however, and by mid-decade Lichtenstein began to focus on subjects that reflected his lifelong interest in art historical themes.

Brushstroke with Spatter, from the Brushstroke series (1965–67), is a wry commentary on the bravura of midcentury Abstract Expressionism. Here Lichtenstein combines the gestural sweep of Willem de Kooning’s brushwork with the rhythmic drips typical of Jackson Pollock. He isolates and magnifies his stroke and spatter against a ground of Ben Day dots, reproducing the conventionally painterly elements as flatly as possible with no trace of emotion or texture. This deadpan rendering is not purely comic, but also establishes a tension key to the work’s success as an abstract painting in its own right, with grand scalar play and dramatic cropping, intensity of color, and the optical pulse of the dotted ground.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Roy Lichtenstein


Brushstroke with Spatter


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil and magna on canvas


172.7 × 203.2 cm (68 × 80 in.)

Credit Line

Barbara Neff Smith and Solomon Byron Smith Purchase Fund

Reference Number



© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Extended information about this artwork

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