Roy Lichtenstein's Five Brushstrokes

Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–1997), Five Brushstrokes, designed 1983–1984, fabricated 2012
Robert L. and Marjorie J. Mann Fund, Partial Gift of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, 2013.443A-E.4
© Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

Five Brushstrokes, a monumental work by Roy Lichtenstein, commissioned in the early 1980s but never before assembled, is considered to be Lichtenstein‟s most ambitious work in his Brushstroke series. Consisting of five separate elements, the tallest of which soars 40 feet into the air, Five Brushstrokes features a striking collection of forms and colors and is one of Lichtenstein's premier "scatter pieces." Installed on The Dudley and Mary Louise Sutphin Mall in front of the main museum building, Five Brushstrokes is a prominent new addition to the IMA's celebrated outdoor sculpture program and an awe-inspiring welcome to IMA visitors.

Originally commissioned by the Stuart Collection at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in the early 1980s, Five Brushstrokes occupied Lichtenstein throughout much of 1983 and 1984. He worked on the commission, sketching his thoughts, creating color cut outs of each element, and then making a wooden maquette of the work. However, when the final full-scale specifications were produced, the sculpture‟s huge scale prevented its fabrication. Following Lichtenstein's death in 1997, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation was established with the purpose of increasing the world‟s exposure to the work of Lichtenstein and the Foundation funded the fabrication of two examples of the Five Brushstrokes in 2012: the artist proof being acquired by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and an edition of one that is still owned by the Foundation.

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About Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923 – 1997) was born in New York City and had his first solo exhibition in the city in 1951. By 1962 Lichtenstein was showing at the prestigious Leo Castelli Gallery, where he exhibited his signature comic strip paintings. He made sculptural works as well in the early 1960s in the form of utilitarian-style objects and mannequin-style heads, both directly influenced by the representation of commercial techniques in his paintings. As his career progressed, the artist‟s sculpture evolved with his painting. In the 1980s this convergence of media culminated in his monumental Brushstroke sculpture series. Evoking the movement and color of paint on canvas, these totem-like works suspend the artist‟s sweeping brushstrokes in midair, balancing one on top of the other in a dynamic sculptural spectacle. Examples from the Brushstroke series are now in the collections of leading museums around the world, including the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles) and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, DC).

Roy Lichtenstein's Five Brushstrokes Indianapolis Museum of Art 4000 Michigan Rd., Indianapolis, IN