Roy Lichtenstein’s 1973 Bull Head series is, in a way, an extension of his Bull Profile series of the same year. Presenting a didactic abstraction process, the artist calls into question the abstract expressionist claim that universal truth is revealed through the distillation of forms.
Bull Head III resembles Bull V and Bull VI of the Bull Profile series with regards to its formalistic qualities. The work’s visual elements are reduced to an essence, as a horn-like structure sticks out towards the upper left corner and the hoof and hind legs of the cattle hover near the bottom of the composition. A yellow circle sits in the centre, situated high up, indicative of the sun above a pasture, as well as the eye of the bull. It is as though the anatomical features of the animal have been dismantled and spread out across the canvas. Lichtenstein has consistently maintained the same disposition and use of bright yellow and light blue pigmentation throughout the three part sequence of Bull Head series.
The prints in this series exhibit an investigation of the process of simplification, without the implied search for a higher meaning. Lichtenstein’s Bull Head series integrates traditional painterly gestures with simple line cuts, a refined lithographic technique and the ready made marks of screen printing.