Roy Lichtenstein’s Dancing Figures was created in 1980, as part of his American Indian Theme series.In contrast to other editions in this series, Dancing Figures employs a particular etching technique referred to as intaglio. Rather than using wood as its base, the image here has been carefully engraved onto a metallic surface. The refined incisions were then rubbed with ink and the cuts held the tint, as the excess was wiped off. The paper was later pressed against the surface with a roller press. Aquatint was applied in conjunction with the etching, producing areas of tone and texture rather than definite outlines.
The resulting print presents an intricate composition, mirroring the layout of other works from the same series, such as American Indian Theme II and American Indian Theme VI. Reflecting the main characteristics of Lichtenstein’s infamous pop oeuvre, the colour scheme used here is the usual bright yellow, deep maroon and cobalt blue. A black and white faux wood imprinted structure is situated in the centre. The shape is surrounded by forms indicative of indigenous tools, like a stone knife for instance, and embellishments comparable to textile weavings attributed to Native Americans.
Lichtenstein proposes his own version of a still life here. In the end, the print relies as much on the artist’s own signature style, as it does on the familiar imagery of American Indian heritage he appropriates.