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Signed Print Edition of 25
H 43cm x W 54cm
|Auction Date||Auction House||Artwork|
Return to Seller
|June 2022||Wright - United States||The Chief - Signed Print|
Pop pioneer Roy Lichtenstein is known for his prints and paintings inspired by commercial and popular culture. Although the majority of Lichtenstein’s artworks maintain a certain air of parody, the thematic contents of his earliest prints differ greatly from his later artistic output. Executed in 1956, The Chief manifests a little known aspect of the artist’s oeuvre. This black and white lithographic drawing constitutes the precursor of Lichtenstein’s iconic American Indian series.
Similar to Indians Pursued by American Dragoons from 1952, this illustration of a tribal chief wearing a feather headdress manifests Lichtenstein’s earliest satirical sensibilities. The work appropriates its main figure from traditional Western paintings featuring American Indians. However, the artist inserts the subject matter into a surprising cubist narrative. In line with Ten Dollar Bill of the same year, Lichtenstein renders his chief in profile, flattened against the canvas in an amorphic manner. Utilising markedly unrealistic proportions, the shapes are here abstracted and verging on mythical.
Lichtenstein lends his angular composition and elementary forms a whimsical painterly quality, elevating these from serious to comedic. Through careful tracing and contouring, he produces radical flatness and sketch-like qualities. In doing so, the artist offers an ultimate parody of fine art as well as a commentary on the fetishised representation of indegenous heritage.