Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997
Italian designer, Gianni Versace, was a great admirer of the works of Roy Lichtenstein. He created fabric designs based on Lichtenstein's art. Versace commissioned Lichtenstein to create two paintings for the studio of his home in Milan. Both Lichtenstein and Versace were influenced by Greco-Roman iconography.
Versace was strongly influenced by ancient Greek history, which dominated the historical landscape of his birthplace, Reggio Calabria, Italy. He attended Liceo Classico Tommaso Campanella, where he studied Latin and ancient Greek. The Versace logo was the head of the Greek mythological figure, Medusa. Lichtenstein created two paintings for Versace: one of Diana, goddess of the moon and hunt and one of Ajax, the Trojan war hero. The paintings are linked by the modern furniture and ben-day dots in both.
In Diana, Lichtenstein painted a version of the Versace logo in the lower right corner. A familiar still life image from Lichtenstein's earlier works is painted on the wall above Ajax's head.
Both paintings were complete, and in Lichtenstein's studio, when Gianni Versace was murdered on July 15, 1997. Versace had walked from his Miami Beach mansion, along Ocean Drive, to buy some magazines. When he returned, and was climbing the steps to his home, he was shot and killed by a man who was later identified as a 'spree killer' and was said to be obsessed with the designer.
In December 1997, Lichtenstein contacted Donatella Versace, Versace's sister, who was not even aware that the paintings existed. After receiving the paintings, she displayed them in Versace's New York townhouse.
They are currently on display at the Phillips Gallery in Southampton, where Lichtenstein had a home and studio from 1970 until his death in 1997. Roy Lichtenstein: Diana and Ajax will be on exhibit at the Phillips Gallery through September 6, 2022.
A retrospective of Roy Lichtenstein's early works is on display at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. The exhibits showcases the progression of the themes and styles of Lichtenstein's work. He painted, did woodcuts and prints of varied subjects like the American West, fairy tales and folk art. His early paintings of comics give just a small clue to the incredible works that followed, incorporating his unique, unmistakable style.
The exhibit includes about 90 works, on loan from museum and private collections. Many of the paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints will be on public view for the first time. Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making, 1948 - 1960 is currently on display and will run through January 8, 2023.
Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Roy Lichtenstein available at Surovek Gallery.
Eileen Kinsella. Roy Lichtenstein's Art Has the Most Pop in the Private Market. With a Special Sale in the Hamptons, Do His Public Prices Have Room to Grow? Artnet News. August 16, 2022.