Roy Lichtenstein took immense pleasure in utilising art history as a source for his pop style appropriations. During a trip to Los Angeles in 1978, Lichtenstein became fascinated by a collection of German expressionist prints and illustrations. He inspected the visual language of Expressionism in greater depth in 1980, producing his seven part Expressionist Woodcut series.
This set of woodcuts includes motifs that echo a variety of Expressionist masterpieces. Nude In The Woods introduces the concept of nudes to Lichtenstein’s repertoire of iconography. It indicates the beginning of a topical investigation that will become central for his artistic oeuvre, culminating in his 1994 series, entitled Nudes.
The colour scheme of Nude In The Woods is light blue, forest green, dark blue and graphite. A naked female figure, reminiscent of Pablo Picasso’sLes Demoiselles d'Avignon, stands outstretched in the middle of the composition. Her right arm reaches beyond the frame and a blue slanted rectangle cuts into her left cheek.
Narrowly placed and flatly applied diagonal lines criss cross the figure’s chest, as an extension of her background. She emerges from the woods in an act of defiance, indicated by the artist through her body language and facial expression. Lichtenstein highlights her hostility towards the observer, perhaps in order to comment on the objectifying nature of nudes throughout art history.