Rouen Cathedral 1, 1969
lithograph in yellow on Arjomari wove paper
Printed by Robert de la Rocha
123.2 x 82.6 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 18995.1)
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein / SODRAC (2013)
This set of prints is based upon a famous series of paintings of Rouen Cathedral done by Claude Monet, who executed approximately forty versions between 1892 and 1894. Whereas Monet was interested in exploring the changing atmospheric effects of light and colour on the cathedral at different times of day or season, Lichtenstein's efforts had little to do with Impressionism and everything to do with form. In both his prints and paintings of Rouen Cathedral, the subject is easily recognizable from a distance, but dissolves into abstraction at close range. By composing these images solely with colour applied through a screen of Benday dots - a technique borrowed from comic strips and used throughout his career - Lichtenstein achieved an appearance of mechanical reproduction in which traditional signs of human creation such as drawing or brushwork were absent.