The visual legacy of Roy Lichtenstein, composed of appropriated images of American popular culture, is categorically entangled with Pop Art. His iconic revisions of the superficial world of commodities is usually characterised by flat colour fields and geometrical forms.
Yet, despite his focus on contemporary imagery, Lichtenstein repeatedly turned his attention to art history for inspiration. The artistic heritage of Futurism, Cubism and Surrealism feature regularly in his work. Prompted by a collection of prints and illustrations in the early 1980s, Lichtenstein also inspected the visual language of Expressionism in great depth.
Dr Waldmann of his Expressionist Woodcut series depicts a somber looking surgeon, clothed in scrubs and a surgical mirror attached to his head. This is a close up portrait employing Lichtenstein’s traditional blue, red and yellow stripes and black contouring.
Similar to The Couple, the appearance of this print oscillates between Pop Art and Expressionism, as a means to challenge high art in an age of mechanical reproduction. The work draws attention to the surface texture of the print, which is distinctly commercial, denying the print’s inherent woodcut quality. While Lichtenstein’s use of distinct shading and defined shapes evoke the lyricism expressed by the expressionists, the rich colouring and schematic forms manifest an affectless pop image.