Roy Lichtenstein, American, Pyramids II, 1969, Oil and Magna on canvas; 98 x 172.9 cm (38 9/16 x 68 1/16 inches), Museum purchase with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts 69.081
Roy Lichtenstein’s work blurs the line between “high art” and mass-produced popular art. In his early comic-book paintings from the beginning of the Pop Art movement, he illustrated in paint the colored Benday dot screens that commercial lithography uses to reproduce and print images. After this series, Lichtenstein turned to art-historical subjects. He painted a series of famous monuments, including Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza. Pyramids II exemplifies his trademark use of primary colors, in this case, only black, white, and yellow, and simplified outlined images. Black outlines separate a vibrant yellow ground from the sky and pyramids, and flat planes of enlarged black dots paradoxically suggest three-dimensional shading.