Roy Lichtenstein rose to prominence in the 1960s with his humorous cartoon imagery, promptly followed by his appropriations of art historical genres. His Modern Head series of 1970 references modern masters of Cubism, Constructivism and Art Deco among others. In addition to a set of five Modern Head prints, Lichtenstein also created a limited number of Modern Head sculptures.
The Modern Head prints seek to critically dismantle the history of modern art, through a formal idea particularly favoured by Lichtenstein; impure style. Accordingly, Lichtenstein’s Modern Heads are founded on both artistic and architectural sources. The prints feature elements that allude to painterly gestures and sculptural anatomy, as well as facade ornamentation and interior design
Modern Head #2delves deeper into the idea of depicting human figures as machines. Whereas Modern Head #1 is the most abstract edition of the series, this print exhibits the most minimalistic portrait of the sequence. The flat black planes in this work are adorned with white and bright yellow curvilinear geometric forms. Modern Head #2 blends the streamlined industrial look of the 1930s with Pablo Picasso’s simplified cubist drawings. Produced using a distinct lithographic printing method referred to as line cut, Lichtenstein manufactures a work with a refined and highly stylised finish.