Friday, 19 June 2009

A Roy Lichtenstein rug to add to the Artist's Foundation Catalogue

For a documentalist it would seem obvious to consider museums and foundations as a useful source of information for a specific artist. This statement however, has to be tempered by the real situation concerning rugs and carpets, the information available being slim and often unreferenced. So what are the possible reasons for this situation? This field is not considered essential reference material for the interpretation and understanding of the life and works of an artist. For many artists, rug design is considered 'made after' rather than 'made by' pieces of artwork. De facto, these creations have become secondary, and seem to have been placed between multiples and copied works.

The problem with this approach, in the long term, is that these pieces of artwork remain unstudied for generations and certain facts can remain ignored (see the Francis Bacon post as a good example). The result is a huge difficulty when collecting information, especially after the death of the artist. Generally, museums and foundations will provide contextual and bibliographical notes, rather than specific information on carpets and their weaving techniques.

Roy Lichtenstein, Composition, p34, Art Surface Collection, 1993. The Carpet Index Library

Among the institutions that have contributed towards my study, through their web site and emails, in the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. The present post is in order to thank them and to contribute towards their catalogue.

Roy Lichtenstein created piled tapestries, produced by the Charles Slatkin Gallery in New York during the 1960s. Some wall-to-wall carpets were also produced by the German manufacturer Vorwerk. The only rug I have referenced is shown above. it is inspired by artwork from his last period, but unfortunately I was not able to determine the exact original painting. The rug is called Composition and is part of the Art Surface Collection. It was produced by the Sedcome Edition company of Paris in the 1990s.

The rug was initially referenced for the catalogue in a standard size of 2m x 3m and a license was signed to produce 100 copies. The rug could be purchased either with a hand-tufted or hand-knotted technique, and eventually individual sizes were produced. The name of the artist was generally embroidered onto a textile band, which was then cut and glued onto the backing, on a corner of the rug. The artist usually received several example rugs.

The rug has appeared in a number of different auctions, for example: Espace Tajan, July 1 2005, lot 450, and in a sale this year in the United States.

Post written by Jean Manuel de Noronha


info said...

Lichenstein may have produced some tapestries - I saw something that looked very much like one in Turkey in the very early 1980s. It was already old and may just as easily been a copied by someboduy but it had been thoughtfully and carefully made. It did not look typical of Turkish weaving - why it was there I'll never know.
Clive Rogers

Anonymous said...

I have one of this carpet (roy lichtenstein composition) numbered : 3/4.One of the ones given to the artist .

For sale : 6000 €