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American Indian Theme II

American Indian Theme II
Signed Print

Roy Lichtenstein

Woodcut, 1980
Signed Print Edition of 50
H 82cm x W 95cm

Critical Review

Lichtenstein’s characteristic collage sensibility is reflected in his American Indian Theme II, on account of the work’s complex layout. The composition unites simplified shapes resembling desert vegetation, weaponry and quillwork. The disposition is centralised and elevated through a playful colour scheme. American Indian Theme II evidently employs the strong graphic nature of Native American imagery to its fullest and makes a good fit for Lichtenstein’s own bold style.

Painting cliché infused subjects from American history allowed Lichtenstein to engage with topics of origin and belonging. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the artist sought to primarily ridicule these widely distributed images depicting Native American heritage. However, living next to the Shinnecock Indian reservation near Southampton for many years enabled the artist to acquaint himself with not only its governing traditions, but many of its residents. As a result, his ironic and unapologetic visuals also stand as a testament to his fondness and appreciation of his neighbours from the reservation.

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