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Roy Lichtenstein

American, 1923–1997

© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Picture and Pitcher, 1978

Painted bronze
95 x 40 x 24 1/2 inches (241.3 x 101.6 x 62.2 cm)
Edmund Hayes and Charles Clifton Funds, 1978

Roy Lichtenstein is known for his sense of humor and ability to play with perception. The title of this piece—Picture and Pitcher—is a play on words that many people mispronounce. One unusual aspect of the work is that Lichtenstein chose to create a still life—a theme traditionally associated with the realm of painting. He constructed the sculpture in such a way, however, that it is very flat—as close to two dimensions as possible. The disconcerting slant of the stool and the configuration of the legs create the amusing illusion that the whole thing is in the process of folding up.

Lichtenstein painted the bronze to look like wrought iron and glass, which allowed him to capture the more ephemeral aspects of the scene such as transparency, light, and shadow. For example, the yellow frame of the picture is distorted as it is viewed through the glass pitcher, and the stripes of the sky are reflected both inside the pitcher and on the top of the stool.

Picture and Pitcher is one of a group of twenty sculptures that Lichtenstein created between 1977 and 1980. The composition was first planned in a series of detailed drawings. He then made a full-size wooden model before it was finally cast into metal—first in aluminum, and then in an edition of three in bronze.

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