Roy Lichtenstein revisited the landscape motif numerous times throughout his career. His vast Landscapes, Moonscapes and Seascapes comprise several individual series of prints. The Sower from 1985 belongs to the painterly Landscapessuites. The print mainly appropriates the formal attributes of landscape painting. However, it also imitates brushstrokes, thereby critiquing the idealised brushwork of the abstract expressionists.
The Sower depicts a figure planting seeds while walking along a field populated by haystacks. The whole scene is composed of explosive pastel-toned and primary coloured brushstrokes. The vivid hand-painted sweeps within this portrait interact energetically with the mechanical aspects of the artist’s own style. Consequently, the layout of the print becomes similarly abstracted as Lichtenstein’s concurrent Brushstroke Faces and Seven Apple Woodcuts.
Although the print presents a panoramic plough land, Lichtenstein only includes the most distilled and poignant details found in a natural setting. His stylised brushstrokes are translated into the conventional language of the landscape genre, making them appear more instinctive. While Lichtenstein’s simulated painterly gestures symbolise nature in motion, the detached cartoon elements produce spatial ambiguities. These strokes seem to have been cut out and pasted on, drawing attention to the surface texture and object quality of the work.