Three Brushstrokes
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© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Gift of Fran and Ray Stark

Roy Lichtenstein
American, 1984
Painted aluminum
121 1/2 x 28 1/2 x 39 1/2 in., 527 lb.

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In this sculpture, painting's basic building block, the brushstroke, has been playfully transformed into an oversized, three-dimensional form. Made from aluminum, three vertical "strokes" of pure color are frozen in space and rise to a height of more than ten feet. One edge of the yellow brushstroke cuts through the dominant stroke of black and blue; the yellow also curves into a diminutive stroke of red paint.

Each brushstroke is a fully realized three-dimensional form that, somewhat implausibly, allows the viewer to experience a stroke of paint from different vantage points. The sculpture humorously reminds us that paint is literally three-dimensional.

Roy Lichtenstein first explored brushstrokes as a subject in a series of paintings initiated in 1965. As with many of his works, he used a comic book source--a panel of an artist at work from Strange Suspense Stories --as the basis for his brushstrokes. The subject became one of the artist's most recognizable images and he would return regularly to the brushstroke motif for more than thirty years. In the early 1980s, Lichtenstein began creating sculptural brushstrokes.