Roy finds in the comics the most varied inspiration. A book entitled The painter was published in October 1964 : a mad artist annihilates his own work with a few brush strokes. The image shows dripping, single drops and even the fraying when the paint becomes rarer on the bristles of the brush at the end of the raging gesture.
Roy uses this theme one year later while removing the text that expressed the artist's nightmare. His first painting simply titled Brushstroke is close to the original drawing with hand and brush in the foreground. He goes further : is a painting anything else than a set of brush strokes on a surface ? In the rest of his series he removes the hand and the brush, leaving alone in the image two stacked strokes.
On May 17 in New York, Christie's sells Red and White Brushstrokes, a canvas 122 x 173 cm painted in 1965, lot 57 B estimated $ 25M. The two wide stripes reproducing beside their friction the avatars of the original gesture are horizontal in a slightly rising direction. It is probably not by chance that the whole image resembles a damaged flowing flag.
Going much deeper than the author of the comics Roy reaches the quantum element of painting. He moves in the same line as Jasper Johns or Frank Stella for whom the theme is less important than the process for building the artwork.
By transforming his Brushstrokes into sculptures three decades later Roy completes this ingenious journey in the mockery of painting. After all, if we look for a parallel in other artistic actions, is cinema anything else than a projection of light through a scrolling sequence of colored filters ?
SOLD for $ 28M including premium