Roy Lichtenstein’s highly acclaimed Surrealist series of the late 1970s demonstrates the artist’s proficiency in the language of modern art. Beside pursuing a rereading of past artistic styles, the Surrealist prints invoke outstanding images from Lichtenstein’s own oeuvre. Consequently, the works in this sequence suggest an abundance of referential meanings.
Blonde, executed in 1978,skillfully aligns the themes of Surrealism with Pop Art’s graphic iconography. However, contrary to the spontaneous output of the surrealists, Lichtenstein reveals a rigorously calculated composition.
Similar to Figures With Ropefrom the same series, Blonde recalls the attributes of Lichtenstein’s 1960s comic book heroines. Capturing a female face in a state of emotional turmoil, the artist composes her body entirely out of blonde streaks of hair. By cutting his usual speech bubbles out of the frame, Lichtenstein eliminates the climax of the depicted melodramatic scene.
Rendered in bright yellow and red hues, the figure’s contours are offset by crisp areas of black and white. A faux-wood statue, appropriated from Lichtenstein’s own American Indianseries of the 1980s, watches her tearful voyage from a distance. Blonde humorously toys with the contrast between its figurative subject matter and the abstracted and surreal vastland surrounding her.