Lichtenstein painted four monumental paintings for his Artists Studio series from 1973–4. Three of these are reunited in this exhibition for the first time since they were exhibited inNew York in 1974.
These large, complex compositions incorporate a myriad of iconographical elements. Inspired by Henri Matisses two 1911 paintings Red Studio and Pink Studio, Lichtenstein similarly conceived each of his own Artists Studio paintings by representing a partial inventory of his own paintings. Taking the opportunity to rephrase many of his earlier works, Lichtenstein also added a direct reference to Matisses masterpiece The Dance 1909.
Lichtensteins own paintings were so widely disseminated and reproduced by the mid-1970s that they had achieved a level of stylistic familiarity that a general public would instantly recognise. This enabled him to appropriate his own work in the same way as works by other major artists. For instance, Artists Studio Look Mickey 1973 features his iconic early work rendered almost to real scale. Other details or items of furniture have similarly been borrowed from previous works such as a telephone from R-R-R-R-Ring!! 1962 and a sofa from Couch 1961.