In his seven part Expressionist Woodcut series of 1980, Lichtenstein mimics the techniques and materials used by Expressionists, rather than simply appropriating their stylistic compositions. The artist abandons his typical Ben Day dots in favour of flatly and narrowly applied diagonal lines and exaggerated wood grain patterns in these prints.
To create the Expressionist Woodcuts, Lichtenstein chose a Baltic birch, specifically on account of its hardness, but then deliberately aimed to minimise the printed texture of each work. Creating a smooth finish with even colouration, he drew attention to the surface of the prints, denying their inherent woodcut quality.
Similar to another print in the series titled Head, The Student exhibits a sharply carved imprint of a face, with its gaze turned upwards. A figure is pasted upon an interior showing a curtained window and purple walls. He is holding a book, his mouth open in recital and his face is a collage of interlocking patterns and colours, finalised through bold black contouring.
The juxtaposition of the distinct forms, striped surfaces and the rough jagged lines all contribute to the print’s powerful appearance. In line with another print from the series, titled Dr Waldmann, The Student applies distinct shading, evoking the lyricism expressed by Expressionist paintings. However, the rich colouring and schematic forms ultimately manifest an affectless pop image.