In 1994, Lichtenstein came full circle with his Nudes series, returning to his cartoon heroines from the 1960s to interrogate the Nude genre itself.
Rather than capturing the bodies of live models, the artist decided to fabricate the female figures himself. Consequently, he sourced their physical female attributes from his extensive archive of comic strips and movie stills.
Lichtenstein’s Nudes were composed using hand-cut as well as computer-generated dye-cut stencils.
These leading ladies in the Nudes series are all portrayed on their own, or with another female companion. The leading men who accompanied Lichtenstein’s distressed heroines of the 1960s are altogether absent from this series.
It is clear that Lichtenstein utilises a familiar, yet reformed pictorial language in his Nudes. The artist tightly clusters his Ben Day dots in certain parts of the picture as a means to denote shadow.
Lichtenstein models his Nudes with heightened dimensionality, contrasting their curvilinear torso’s to the geometric and figurative elements of their interiors. As such, the prints oscillate between realistic, three-dimensional representation and decorative, two-dimensional patterning.
Produced in 1994, this series showcases a perfect distillation of Lichtenstein’s graphic lexicon, revealing an artist in complete mastery of his craft.
Going under the hammer for an enormous US$ 46.2 million, Nude with Joyous Painting (1994) is the most expensive of the Nude paintings by Lichtenstein. The work sold at Christie’s New York on 10th July 2020.
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