Entablature III, from Entablature Series
‘The architectural elements in the Entablature series can be seen as providing the artist with ready-made designs, in much the same way as comic strips and advertisements had provided him with easily recognised motifs in his earlier work.’ (Christoph Grunenberg, July 2000, Tate)
Between 1971 and 1976, Lichtenstein produced two series of entablature paintings based on photographs he had taken in New York of 20th century architectural ornaments in Lower Manhattan and, specifically, in the vicinity of Wall Street and 28th Street. During this period, in May 1974, he began to also discuss the creation of the ‘Entablature’ print series with Master Printmaker, Ken Tyler of Tyler Graphics Ltd., who Lichtenstein collaborated with closely to make many of his original prints over the years.
Together, Lichtenstein and Tyler produced eleven ‘Entablature’ prints, each one taking an epic two months to complete before they would move on to the next composition. This series, Tyler explains, would push he and Lichtenstein far beyond the known limits of printmaking. At the beginning of each print’s creation, a great deal of trial and error would ensue before they could perfect the complex foil layering and embossing/debossing of patterns.
On the occasion of their exhibition ‘Roy Lichtenstein: Pop Remix’ (2014), the National Gallery of Australia described this series of prints as ‘the pinnacle of technical complexity in Lichtenstein’s collaboration with Tyler and the staff at Tyler Graphics’. Knowing this, it is easy to understand why ‘Entablature III’ is seen as a ground-breaking artwork and with only 16 prints issued in the standard edition it makes this example all the rarer.
Screenprint and collage with embossing, 1976, on Rives BFK paper, signed and dated in pencil, one of nine artist’s proof, aside from the standard edition of 16, printed and published by Tyler Graphics Ltd., New York with their blindstamp, 74 x 114 cm. (29¼ x 45 in.)