“Hot Dog” by Roy Lichtenstein, 1963-1964

I’ve always admired the famous “Hot Dog” enamel by Roy Lichtenstein, pictured just below. Even though the hot dog itself resembles a logo more than anything edible, I can appreciate the way that Lichtenstein makes the hot dog appear to glisten and shine. In that sense, the painting is very appealing from its “theoretical taste” standpoint, as if the hot dog was freshly prepared and incredibly succulent. As cartoonish as it looks, it does seem delicious. The colors of the 194 enamel are also striking: ketchup red and mustard yellow. I wonder if this was largely a coincidence, or if Lichtenstein was really that in tune to food.

Roy Lichtenstein, Hot Dog, 1964 (enamel on plate).

Either way, Lichtenstein’s “Hot Dog” enamel remains extremely vivid in its execution. As an artist, Lichtenstein often borrowed his color palate from consumer packaging, incorporating schemes that featured powerful and eye-catching contrasts. This approach, coupled with his everyday subject matter (such as hot dogs), was reminiscent of the Pop Art movement of the 1950s. Lichtenstein obviously had hot dogs on his mind for a quite some time. To wit, here are a couple other incarnations of Lichtenstein’s ode to America’s favorite food. Enjoy!

Roy Lichtenstein, Hot Dog (Sketch for Enamel), 1964 (graphite and ink on paper).

The sketch above is obviously an early draft of Lichtenstein’s finished “Hot Dog” enamel. Below, an oil painting from 1963 reveals the red-and-yellow color scheme that Lichtenstein would eventually revisit in 1964. The oil and magna painting (which almost looks like an homage to Oscar Mayer’s wiener mobile) shows more detail in terms of shading and dimension. However, the image below remains far less stylized than Lichtenstein’s trademark enamel.

hot dog

Roy Lichtenstein, Hot Dog, 1963 (oil and magna on canvas)

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Roy Lichtenstein, Hot Dog with Mustard, 1963 (oil on canvas).

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This rendition sold for almost $150,000 at a Christie's auction in 2011.

Roy Lichtenstein, Hot Dog, 1964 (porcelain enamel on metal tray, 12.75 x 19.13 x 0.75 inches). This rendition sold for almost $150,000 at a Christie’s auction in November 2011.


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