Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Roy Lichtenstein. Nevertheless, the artist’s legacy only continues to grow in strength. His works have become synonymous with the 1960’s Pop Art movement, alongside those of Andy Warhol and other household names.
Lichtenstein’s work continues to delight diverse audiences, examine important social issues, and increase in value at auction. In this blog, we share three good reasons why art investors are still choosing to buy Roy Lichtenstein art.
Roy Lichtenstein is known as one of the most prominent figures of the Pop Art movement.
Like Warhol, who claimed that “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” Lichtenstein was fascinated with mass consumerism and commercialisation, and borrowed imagery from comic books, adverts and pop culture to create his compositions.
Lichtenstein also took inspiration from industrial processes, producing works using Ben-day dots which were originally used by printers for cheap colour shading. While he worked with various mediums during his career, his most recognisable works mimic the bold designs of comic books, newspapers and print advertising, in bright, almost neon primary colours.
Lichtenstein’s work shows us the essential role that Pop Art played in the 1960s, translating and examining cultural and social change. His paintings are bright, engaging and entertaining, but also look at subversive subjects such as obsessions around consumerism, youth, beauty and love.
Gender politics also represent a constant topic in Lichtenstein’s works, although it is open to interpretation whether they aim to criticise or simply replicate the misogyny and machismo which were constant presences in the era’s advertisements and other popular media forms. Female stereotypes range from femme fatales to broken-hearted women drowning in their own tears.
It’s argued that Lichtenstein’s work played a pivotal role in developing the 1960s art market, which saw contemporary art start to command high prices from a new audience of enthusiastic collectors.
The artist’s work remains in demand today, with several sales hitting the headlines this year.
In January, art collector and patron Agnes Gund sold Lichtenstein’s ‘Masterpiece’ (1962) for an incredible $165 million, making the piece one of the 15 highest valued artworks ever.
In May, Christie’s evening sale of postwar and contemporary art saw ‘Red and White Brushstrokes’ (1965) sell for $28.2 million. Similarly, Sotheby’s postwar and contemporary evening sale saw Lichtenstein’s late work ‘Nude Sunbathing’ (1995) fetch $24 million.
And just this month, the biggest sale at Art Basel was thought to be Roy Lichtenstein’s Study for ‘Peace Through Chemistry’ (1969), selling for a rumoured $12 million.
Not everyone can afford to invest in Roy Lichtenstein art, but happily his style lives on in the work of many others. Bradley Theodore, the Connor Brothers and Romero Britto are just a few names represented by Maddox Gallery who take inspiration from the pop art movement.
Works by the right emerging artists in particular can provide investors the opportunity to enjoy huge potential growth, as reputations develop and demand for work rises. Here at Maddox Gallery, we have seen the work of several artists soar in value over the course of just a few months.
If you are considering purchasing any art, we always advise clients to ‘invest with their eyes,’ and collect works which they can enjoy aesthetically as well as benefitting from financially. To find out more, plan a visit to one of our galleries in central London and speak with a Sotheby’s-trained art consultant.
Written by James Nicholls, Managing Director and Curator, Maddox Gallery.