160
160

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Roy Lichtenstein
STUDIES FOR LEDA AND THE SWAN
JUMP TO LOT
160

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Roy Lichtenstein
STUDIES FOR LEDA AND THE SWAN
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
London

Roy Lichtenstein
1923 - 1997
STUDIES FOR LEDA AND THE SWAN
signed twice and signed with the artist’s initials
pencil on paper
47.6 by 89.2cm.; 18 3/4 by 35 1/8 in.
Executed in 1968.
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Provenance

Kenneth Tyler and Tyler Graphics Ltd., New York (acquired from the artist)
Sale: Sotheby’s, New York, Contemporary Art, 18 May 2000, Lot 326
Private Collection, New York
James Goodman Gallery, New York
Private Collection (acquired from the above in 2007)

Exhibited

New York, James Goodman Gallery Inc, Roy Lichtenstein: Works on Paper, 2006–07

Literature

Paul Bianchini, Roy Lichtenstein Drawings and Prints, 1970, p. 196, no. 68-67

Catalogue Note

A study for a work commissioned by notorious playboy and collector Gunter Sachs in 1968, Studies for Leda and the Swan touches upon one of  Roy Lichtenstein’s most important artistic contributions: to make ‘art about art’, in the graphic language of commercial reproductions. 

After Sachs and Lichtenstein met in Southampton in the summer of 1968, Sachs sent a letter to Lichtenstein to discuss the design and fabrication of bespoke works by him which would be destined to adorn the bathtub and sink of Sachs’ legendary penthouse apartment in the Palace Hotel in St-Moritz:  “If you permit I would propose that the painting on the large side of the bathing-tub (60 by 200 cm) should show a girl's face, perhaps with tears in her eyes, looking at a lake with a swan - a kind of modern Leda. On the little side of the bath (60 by 110 cm) I could very well imagine a sunset or a moonset over a calm lake. The painting under the lavatory (60 by 200 cm) could figure a landscape in a thunder-shower. In all these paintings, however, it is very important that you respect accurately the dimensions indicated below in centimeters and inches. […] As I am obliged to finish the apartment before Christmas, it is very important that I get your paintings till November 2nd, 1968." (Letter from Gunter Sachs to Roy Lichtenstein, Paris 3 October 1968, Leo Castelli's gallery records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

The result was a set of three enamel panels, exact to-scale reproductions made from Lichtenstein’s working drawings presented in Studies for Leda and the Swan: the large side of the bathtub represented a Picasso-esque version of the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan – in which Zeus materialised as a swan to seduce Leda, Queen of Sparta – while its small end and the plaque for the sink cabinet represented Art Deco-style allegorical imagery in the form of sunshines, rainbows and clouds. 

An extraordinarily detailed group of studies for what would later become a consummate example from Roy Lichtenstein’s iconic ‘Modern Paintings’, Studies for Leda and the Swan skilfully demonstrates the artist’s unrivalled grasp on the delicate balance between abstraction and figuration.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
London