ROY LICHTENSTEIN, FIGURE WITH TEEPEE, INTAGLIO, ETCHING AND ENGRAVING IN COLOURS, EDITION OF 32, 1980
Roy Lichtenstein’s iconic comic strip paintings have become synonymous with the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. Famous for experimenting with a broad range of styles and themes, Lichtenstein’s engagement with American Indian art spans two main periods of his career. His pre-pop oeuvre of the 1950s employs a cubist style to revise cliched images romanticising Native American heritage. The artist’s subsequent 1980s American Indian series treats indigenous art and design more in line with his signature pop approach.
Lichtenstein’s Figure With Teepee was created in 1980 and employs a particular etching technique referred to as intaglio. According to this printing method, the image has first been carefully engraved onto a metallic surface. The refined incisions were then rubbed with ink, as the excess was wiped off. Soft paper was later pressed against the surface with a roller press.
The resulting imprint shows a black and white faux-wood totem decorated with red threads. The red and white fletching of two arrows is sticking out of the sculpture’s head. The corner of a cream coloured teepee pokes into view, situated on the right-hand side of the composition. The work reshuffles appropriated Native American artefacts. Lichtenstein reworks the forms and objects into flat planes and geometric shapes, presenting a compact canvas with a minimalist presence.