Sunrise, 1965 by Roy Lichtenstein
Landscape was one of the first topics that Lichtenstein turned to following his comic-inspired Pop breakthrough, and one to which he returned with some regularity. He was drawn to cliched
or dated subjects, and the genre of landscape seemed appealingly remote from avant-garde concerns. While their subject matter seems unlike Lichtenstein's early Pop comic paintings, his
painted landscapes were in fact appropriated from the backgrounds of cartoon scenes. Lichtenstein used the same durable halftone dots but here distilled the compositions down to the most
basic pictorial elements. The results progress from more overtly representational works like Sunrise (1965) to almost completely abstract works like the blue Seascape (1964).
The black outlines present in Sunrise disappear, leaving bands of solid color and massed groupings of dots to define the pictorial space - ocean, mountains, sky.
only developed the snarky, print advertising- and comics-inspired body of work for which he is best known in the early 1960s, with the iconic turning point piece Look Mickey (1961). He was preoccupied with the tenets of Cubism and Abstract Expressionism in the early years of his career, but while teaching at Douglass College in the 1950s he embraced cartoons as a technical and conceptual challenge, responding to the confines of new trends that sought to break traditional composition. Following the influence of contemporaries like Allan Kaprow, Jim Dine, and Claes Oldenburg, he moved away from figurative styles and into representational work about everyday life. Advertising and cartoons served as a springboard for subject matter, but only propelled him to look backwards, to predecessors like Haystacks of Claude Monet, The Dance of Henri Matisse, and scenes from Chinese landscapes - whose imagery he appropriated using his mechanized and highly organized method of painting.