Roy Lichtenstein Pop Art Rugs
Roy Lichtenstein Rugs at the Nazmiyal Collection — Over the years, the Nazmiyal Collection has acquired an impressive selection of rugs by renowned fine artists. In this post, we take a look at the man behind three of these rugs: pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. More than just rugs, these pieces are truly works of art. For more, check out our Roy Lichtenstein rugs inspired Pinterest Board!
Roy Lichtenstein (1923 – 1997) was an American artist who is known for his contributions to the mid-century Pop Art style. He drew much aesthetic inspiration for his works from 1960’s popular media, and his paintings contain several recurring homages to comic-strip style, such as his use of Ben-Day dots, strong outlines, and text bubbles. His works vary greatly in theme, from still lives, to portraits, to abstract pieces, but his oeuvre is united by his strict use of color and line. Lichtenstein’s distinct style makes his work instantly recognizable and iconic.
Lichtenstein was born in New York City to an upper-middle-class Jewish family. During his teenage years, he became a passionate fan of jazz, and one of his first artistic pursuits was drawing the portraits of musicians that he saw play at the popular Apollo Theater in Harlem. After finishing high school, Lichtenstein enrolled in the University of Ohio’s studio art program, and began working toward a career as an artist. Eventually, he attained his Masters of Fine Arts degree from the school, and accepted a teaching position as a studio art instructor there, which he held for over ten years.
In 1951, Lichtenstein held his first solo exhibition at the Carlebach Gallery in New York. Although he was living in Cleveland at the time, the artist took frequent trips to New York, taking odd jobs as a draftsman or window decorator. In 1957, the artist moved back to New York, and accepted a position as a painting instructor at the State University of New York in Oswego. It was during this time that Lichtenstein began to embrace the popular Abstract Expressionism style into his works. The roots of his “pop sensibility” appear in this early work, with cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny making cameos in his otherwise abstract pieces.
During the early 1960’s, Lichtenstein began to rework his style into the pop aesthetic that he is associated with today. He was incredibly interested in capitalist culture, and was fascinated by the idea of the homemaker-as-consumer. References to advertising and commercial sign-making began to appear in his work, and he became more interested in bold linework and simple colors. It was also during the early 1960’s that Lichtenstein began painting more recognizable characters, such as DC comic-strip damsels and gum-wrapper mascots. At first, critics were skeptical of the originality of these works, and dismissed them as void of meaning. However, as the pop movement gained traction, Lichtenstein would be embraced as one of its greatest ambassadors for his investigations of mass-media imagery. In later years, prominent cartoonist Bill Griffith stated of Lichtenstein, “There’s high art and there’s low art. And then there’s high art that can take low art, bring it into a high art context, appropriate it and elevate it into something else”.
By the end of the 1960’s, Lichtenstein had turned away from his depictions of comic strips, and began to focus his artistic critique on Modernism. During this period, he recreated famous works by impressionists like Cezanne, Mondrian, Picasso, and Van Gogh in his own established pop-style. These works express both Lichtenstein’s reverence for the previous century’s contribution to the Western Canon, and also a suggestion to the art world to perhaps not take itself so seriously.
In addition to his own paintings and sculptures, Lichtenstein licensed and commissioned consumer goods to be made from his work, including everything from graphic textiles to pop-painted Nascar vehicles. Nazmiyal Collection is proud to be in possession of some of these art-objects, in the form of three signed Lichtenstein pop art rugs. The rugs come to the Nazmiyal Collection from the Seligmann Estate in France. The Seligmann family has been involved in the European and American art markets since the turn of the 20th Century, and their galleries are credited with popularizing modern art in Europe. These rugs are from the Seligmann’s 1970’s reserves, during which time the company absorbed the popular Lucie Weill Gallery and its collection. The Lucie Weill Gallery (now named the Lucie Weill-Seligmann Gallery) was known to have produced a number of artist rugs during the mid 20th Century. In addition to the three Lichtenstein rugs acquired by the Nazmiyal Collection, the Lucie Weill Gallery produced rugs after Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, and André Derain. The Lucie Weill Gallery supplied artists’ rugs to the well-known Charles Slatkin Gallery in New York, in addition to the Seligmann Galleries in France.
Each of the three Lichtenstein rugs are distinctly recognizable — from their color palettes of primary red, blue, and yellow, to their bold use of outline and shape, these rugs are each iconic works of art. These three rugs are perfect for adding a bold touch of mid-century pop to any interior.
This post brought to you by the Nazmiyal Blog of Design and Style.