"I therefore rest satisfied, and thank God that my lot is to be an American farmer" –J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer (1782).
Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Paper Plate, 1969. Signed “R Lichtenstein” lower center. White paper plate. Screen-printed in yellow, red, and blue. 10 1/4″ in diameter. Published by Bert Stern, On 1st, New York. Likely printed by Artmongers Manufactory, New York. Printed on verso: “Roy Lichtenstein © On 1st Inc. 1969″.
Slight toning and faint sunning. Plate lightly creased. Overall, colors remain bright. Very good. In a custom Plexiglas case suitable for hanging.
Provenance: From the John and Kimiko Powers collection of Pop Art.
Along with Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Roy Lichtenstein helped launch the conceit of Pop Art into the national vanguard by celebrating everyday forms as high art. Lichtenstein was aware of Warhol’s prior use of cartoon images and commercial objects, and Warhol’s success undoubtedly influenced Lichtenstein in that direction.
What separates Lichtenstein from Warhol is Lichtenstein’s more distilled use of color. Lichtenstein’s frequent employ of red, yellow, and blue as primary in his artwork makes his palette immediately recognizable. After 1965, Lichtenstein drifted more into Abstract Expressionism, but often retained the same color scheme. Paper Plate is thus a curious object in his oeuvre, being both a commonplace object and an Ab-Ex design done in Lichtenstein’s preferred colors. Issued in packs of ten and sold by On 1st, Lichtenstein’s paper plate was a summer-casual extension of the artist’s vision.
Though Lichtenstein signed several of the plates, the provenance of the present copy is exceptional. John and Kimiko Powers are generally credited with assembling the greatest collection of Pop Art ever held in private hands. Most active in the sixties, seventies, and eighties, the Powers frequently befriended the artists they collected, including Lichtenstein, with whom they were particularly close. Their collection was an extension of themselves and their relationships, and they valued their prints on par with their original works and often displayed them together.
The present example of Paper Plate, with its fine association, represents an opportunity to acquire the palette and mood of Lichtenstein at an accessible price.
See also Germano Celant, et al, Pop Art: The John and Kimiko Powers Collection (New York: Gagosian Gallery, 2002).