Thursday, September 10, 2009

Roy Lichtenstein ~ Sweet Dreams Baby

Roy Lichenstein's Sweet Dreams Baby is currently on view at the Portland Art Museum as part of Word and Image/Word as Image. The exhibition is made up of nearly 70 works from the permanent collection of the Portland Art Museum and local private collections. Spend some time with these prints and you'll have a better understanding of the relationship between word and image in prints from the Renaissance through today.

Sweet Dreams Baby is from Jordan D. Schnitzer's collection. Originally created by Roy Lichtenstein as part of the portfolio 11 Pop Artists, it was one of three color screen prints Lichtenstein submitted for that compendium. Reverie and Moonscape shown below are the other two. Lichtenstein used bright canary yellow, intense red along with black and white to create Sweet Dreams Baby, one of his first Pop images. The scene is made up of two partial figures at a particularly violent moment. The punching hand from a person not shown arcs across the paper knocking the other man's head away with a dramatic "POW" in bright red caps. Characteristic of Lichtenstein's sense of humor, Sweet Dreams Baby has an interesting double meaning – usually an endearing phrase is here used as a farewell to the man who has just been hit.

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