Expressionist Woodcut Roy Lichtenstein
Find out more about Roy Lichtenstein’s Expressionist Woodcut series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.
Roy Lichtenstein was born 1923 in New York City. First educated at the Art Students League, he went on to achieve an M.F.A from the School of Fine Arts at Ohio State University in Columbus. In the early 1960s, he introduced his iconic paintings consisting exclusively of comic-strip figures and Ben Day Dots. From the 1970s onwards, the artist probed another enduring artistic issue; the concept of style.
The visual legacy of 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, Surrealism and Expressionism feature regularly in his work.
Lichtenstein’s seven part Expressionist Woodcut series of 1980 originated during one of his visits to Los Angeles. In 1978 he was introduced to prominent art collector and philanthropist Robert Gore Rifkind’s collection of German Expressionist prints and illustrations. Inspired, he decided to appropriate the stylistic elements he observed.
Lichtenstein notably flattens the complex layers of heavily impastoed colours present in Expressionist paintings into forms of appropriated imagery. The Expressionist Woodcuts primarily aim to display the hallmark techniques and materials applied by the Expressionists. As is customary for Lichtenstein, he renders the source material through the commercial overexposure of repetition and seriality.
German Expressionists, particularly the Brücke artists and members of Der Blaue Reiter of the early 1900s, worked in woodcut prints characterised by simplified forms and heightened colour. They carved their compositions directly onto the surface of the woodblocks, skipping the preparatory stages. To produce his own woodcuts, Lichtenstein employed Baltic Birch, a type of wood that is particularly hard to gouge. He projected the small pencil drawings he had prepared beforehand, tracing the portraits onto the surface of the wood. The artist then applied each colour successively, finishing off the image with black contouring. Lichtenstein’s signature Ben Day dots are used sparingly in this series, seeing as their overall impression is anything but expressionistic.
The Expressionist Woodcut portfolio is made up of portraits. Most importantly, the series introduces the concept of nudes to Lichtenstein’s repertoire of iconography. The series indicates the beginning of a topical investigation that will become central for his artistic oeuvre, culminating in his 1994 series entitled Nudes.
Interestingly enough, the prints in this series fluctuate stylistically between Pop and Expressionism. To challenge high art in an age of mechanical reproduction, Lichtenstein’s compositions incorporate lyrical elements of Expressionism mixed with his affectless Pop Art aesthetic. His use of distinct shading and defined shapes point to Expressionist influences, while the richly striped colouring and schematic forms manifest a true Pop image.
The interlocking patterns of exaggerated wood grain and jagged lines also signify the tone and texture of commercial printed materials. Lichtenstein’s skillful Expressionist Woodcuts prove that it is in fact possible to employ this printing process without achieving a woodcut finish. There is no narrative, only surface, colour and a permeating sense of irony.
How do I buy an Expressionist Woodcut print?
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of buying work by Roy Lichtenstein is by using us to reach a seller. MyArtBroker is a curated site, meaning we feature artists that our collectors say they want. You can find Roy Lichtenstein art for sale here. You’ll need to create a free account to buy or sell with us.
How can I sell my Expressionist Woodcut print?
If you're looking to sell art by Roy Lichtenstein, click the link and we can help. We employ a number of techniques and practices in order to give a realistic and achievable valuation on any art listed on myartbroker.com. We analyse the demand for the work in question, take into consideration previous sales and auction valuations, we assess the current gallery valuation and monitor the current deals taking place via MyArtBroker every day. We regularly advise sellers on a price bracket for their artwork completely free of charge.