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Cathedral #2

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© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Cathedral #2

1969
48 1/2 x 32 1/2 in. (123.2 x 82.6 cm)

Roy Lichtenstein
American (New York, NY, 1923 - 1997, New York, NY)

Object Type: Print
Medium and Support: Color lithograph
Credit Line: Gift of Robert and Anne-Marie Logan
Accession Number: 2000.14
Link to this object
Location: Not currently on view

Edition: 22/75

Artists Proofs: 10
Printers Proofs: 1
Printer: Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles
Publisher: Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles
Suite Name: Cathedral series

Start by looking at this print close up and then slowly move backwards. As you continue to move farther from the surface, do you see a form emerge? The accumulation of red and blue dots that you might have first thought were randomly placed, now begin to connect to one another and form an image of the façade of a cathedral. How is this possible?

Although the human visual system is wired to group elements to create a coherent image, the ability to group depends on the distance between you and what you are seeing. When you stand close to this print, you are focusing on the individual dots, which stand out from the white background. As you move farther away, the connections between the differently colored dots become more evident and the white background lessens in brightness.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Cathedral #2 is part of a series based on Claude Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series from the 1890s. While Monet created his image of the cathedral from an accumulation of brushstrokes, Lichtenstein uses Ben Day dots, a technique used in the print industry to mechanically reproduce color images.

[Label copy from Seeing in Color and Black and White, 2018]

In the 1890s, Impressionist artist Claude Monet completed a series of paintings of Rouen Cathedral. Monet built up his paint surfaces with rich, textured brushstrokes to capture the façade of the cathedral in different times of day and in different weather. Almost seventy-five years later, Roy Lichtenstein translated Monet’s cathedral into Pop with his characteristic hard-edged dot pattern printed with a commercial silkscreen technique.

Just like with Impressionist paintings, the viewer needs to step back from the Lichtenstein for the image to become fully coherent.

[Gallery label text 2012]

Marks
Artist's signature, lower right: rf Lichtenstein '69

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