Roy Lichtenstein is known for his prints and paintings inspired by commercial and popular culture. Although all of his work maintains a certain air of parody, the thematic contents of his early works differ greatly from his later artistic output.Indians Pursued By American Dragoons of 1952 is a distinct pre-pop work that blends naturalistic and stylised forms of expression.
Lichtenstein employs a particular etching technique referred to as intaglio in this print. Rather than using deep carvings, the artist employs refined incisions coated in ink. Aquatint is applied in conjunction with the etching process, producing areas of tone and texture rather than definite outlines.
Indians Pursued By American Dragoons manifests a little known aspect of Lichtenstein’s ouvre. The work delves into indegenous heritage, a subject explored in great depth by the artist in his later American Indian series. In line with Lichtenstein’s Approaching The Castle of 1951, the work combines the painterly gestures of Abstract Expressionism and the formal attributes of Cubism.
Indians Pursued By American Dragoons presents an intricate composition contradictive of its title, which suggests a vehement chase. The Indians and the dragoons are intertwined, distinguishable only by their respective warbonnets and combat helmets. Despite the dark pigments, Lichtenstein’s playful rendering of the scene lends the work a whimsical quality.