LAMA BLOG

Roy Lichtenstein’s Modern Head Series

October 2, 2015

 

The Modern Head Series (1970) was one of Roy Lichtenstein’s (1923–1997) signal endeavors in the early mature period of his artistic career. In the mid-1960s, he moved away from taking direct inspiration for his imagery from sources such as comic books and product packaging, toward abstract painting inflected by references to Cubism, Constructivism, and Art Deco design. Lichtenstein was deeply taken by Art Deco (or Machine Age) aesthetics, which he facetiously called “Cubism for the home.” Los Angeles Modern Auctions is pleased to offer all five prints of the Modern Head Series, nos. 1-5, Lots 308-312, this October 11.

Lot 308 Roy Lichtenstein Modern Head #1 (from Modern Head Series) 1970

Lot 308,  Roy Lichtenstein, Modern Head #1 (from Modern Head Series), 1970
October 11, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

This interest first manifested itself in his artwork in 1966, in both a poster for that year’s performance season at the Lincoln Center in New York, and in a composition titled Modern Painting with Bolt. In the latter, Lichtenstein “scrupulously orchestrated an interplay of vertical and diagonals, curves and straight edges, and dynamic and static forms, ” writes art historian Carol Lanchner. “The result [is] a vigorous, handsomely contrived abstraction of evident Art Deco heritage.”

Lot 310 Roy Lichtenstein Modern Head #2 (from Modern Head Series) 1970

Lot 310, Roy Lichtenstein, Modern Head #2 (from Modern Head Series), 1970
October 11, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

In the middle of this stylistic period, Lichtenstein was inspired by Alexej von Jawlensky’s group of constructivist paintings of heads, presented in the 1968 show Serial Imagery at the Pasadena Art Museum (now the Norton Simon Museum), to create his Modern Head Series.

Lot 312 Roy Lichtenstein Modern Head #3 (from Modern Head Series) 1970

Lot 312, Roy Lichtenstein, Modern Head #3 (from Modern Head Series), 1970
October 11, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lichtenstein worked with Gemini G.E.L., the Los Angeles art printmaking firm that, though founded only in 1966, had already garnered wide acclaim for its technical expertise. It is particularly noteworthy that each work in the Modern Head Series was produced using a different and distinct printing method. Those employed include woodcut, lithography, linecut, embossing, and the use of a die-cut paper overlay.

Lot 311, Roy Lichtenstein, Modern Head #4 (from Modern Head Series), 1970Lot 311 Roy Lichtenstein Modern Head #4 (from Modern Head Series) 1970
October 11, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

Though conceived and printed as a cohesive whole, the Modern Head Series is rarely found intact. (Modern Head #1 and #2 prints can be found in the collection of the de Young/Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, while a Modern Head #3 is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. One Modern Head #4 print is in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and a #5 is in the collection of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.) Here LAMA presents a complete set of the series, nos. 1-5, each edition #62 of of 100, published and printed by Gemini G.E.L., with provenance stemming from the private collection of Murray “Mickey” A. Gribin, Los Angeles, California.

Lot 309 Roy Lichtenstein Modern Head #5 (from Modern Head Series) 1970

Lot 309, Roy Lichtenstein, Modern Head #5 (from Modern Head Series), 1970
October 11, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lanchner, Carolyn, and Roy Lichtenstein. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2009. 18–19. Print. Breuer, Karin. “Roy Lichtenstein Prints from Gemini G.E.L.” De Young FAMSF. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1997. Web. 18 Aug 2015.

 

Lot Information:

Lot 308
Roy Lichtenstein
Modern Head #1 (from Modern Head Series)
1970
4-color woodcut on Japanese Hoshi paper
#62 of 100
Published and printed by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles
Signed and dated in graphite lower right margin of sheet with Gemini G.E.L. blindstamp; edition lower left
Image: 20.25″ x 12.5″; Sheet: 24″ x 19″; Frame: 25.5″ x 20.75″
Gemini G.E.L. #31.23
Provenance: Murray “Mickey” A. Gribin, Los Angeles, California;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California
Literature: The Prints of Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1948-1993. M. Corlett. 1994. #91.
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000

Lot 309
Roy Lichtenstein
Modern Head #5 (from Modern Head Series)
1970
Embossed graphite with Strathmore die-cut paper overlay mounted in white lacquered aluminum frame with wood stretcher support
#62 of 100
Published and printed by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles
Signed and dated in graphite lower right margin of sheet with Gemini G.E.L. blindstamp; edition lower left
Image: 20″ x 11.5″; Sheet: 28″ x 19.5″; Frame: 28.5″ x 20″
Gemini G.E.L. #31.27
Provenance: Murray “Mickey” A. Gribin, Los Angeles, California;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California
Literature: The Prints of Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1948-1993. M. Corlett. 1994. #95.
Estimate: $18,000 – $25,000

Lot 310
Roy Lichtenstein
Modern Head #2 (from Modern Head Series)
1970
2-color embossed lithograph and linecut on handmade Waterleaf paper
#62 of 100
Published and printed by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles
Signed and dated in graphite lower right margin of sheet with Gemini G.E.L. blindstamp; edition lower left
Image: 19.75″ x 11.75″; Sheet: 24″ x 18.5″; Frame: 25.5″ x 19.75″
Gemini G.E.L. #31.24
Provenance: Murray “Mickey” A. Gribin, Los Angeles, California;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California
Literature: The Prints of Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1948-1993. M. Corlett. 1994. #92.
Estimate: $9,000 – $12,000

Lot 311
Roy Lichtenstein
Modern Head #4 (from Modern Head Series)
1970
4-color lithograph on engraved and anodized aluminum
#62 of 100
Published and printed by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles
Incised signature with date and edition verso; stamped “RL70-247/copyright 1970 GEMINI G.E.L./LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA” verso
Image/sheet: 20.625″ x 17.25″; Frame: 21.125″ x 17.5″
Gemini G.E.L. #31.26
Provenance: Murray “Mickey” A. Gribin, Los Angeles, California;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California
Literature: The Prints of Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1948-1993. M. Corlett. 1994. #94.
Estimate: $15,000 – $20,000

Lot 312
Roy Lichtenstein
Modern Head #3 (from Modern Head Series)
1970
1-color embossed linecut on handmade Waterleaf paper
#62 of 100
Published and printed by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles
Signed and dated in graphite lower right margin of sheet with Gemini G.E.L. blindstamp; edition lower left
Image: 20″ x 13.75″; Sheet: 24″ x 18″; Frame: 25.75″ x 19.75″
Gemini G.E.L. #31.25
Provenance: Murray “Mickey” A. Gribin, Los Angeles, California;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California
Literature: The Prints of Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1948-1993. M. Corlett. 1994. #93.
Estimate: $9,000 – $12,000

 

 

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