This week we look ahead to Tate Modern’s forthcoming Lichtenstein retrospective with Bella Freud’s thoughts on his 1991 piece Interior with Waterlilies.

Roy Lichtenstein, 'Interior with Waterlilies' 1991

Roy Lichtenstein
Interior with Waterlilies 1991
Oil and acrylic on canvas
support: 3209 x 4553 x 65 mm
Presented by the Douglas S. Cramer Foundation in honour of Dorothy and Roy Lichtenstein 1997© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2002

View the main page for this artwork

This painting appeals to me with all its immaculate lines and dots and cartoony colours.

The bed is desirable and the interior seems very still – but there is a tense vacuum, as if something weird has just happened.

At first you hardly notice the waterlilies, half cut-off in the painting, but then they have an hypnotic power and draw you in, almost against your will.

Though the bed and the reassuring telephone beside it seem alluring, the outlines of the bed are forbidding. Instead of reaching this island of safety, it is more likely that you will be kidnapped into one of the other pictures and imprisoned on the wall like the girl in the bikini. 

Bella Freud – Fashion Designer


Lichtenstein: A Retrospective
 at Tate Modern is the first full-scale retrospective of the artist in over twenty years. 21 February – 27 May 2013