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Lichtenstein of the Week

Taking inspiration from some of his art historical idols including Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso, Lichtenstein embarked on a series of female nudes late in his career. But unlike these artists, Lichtenstein did not work with models. Rather, he looked back to his comic archives—the blondes in this painting came from the DC comics Girls’ Romances of 1963 and 1965.

However, the appropriations vary quite a bit from the iconic 1960s comic book paintings. Instead of drawing from just one panel, these girls came from multiple panels, perhaps explaining the differences in scale. There’s also the notion of apparel…or lack thereof. These girls were fully clothed in the source material and disrobed by Lichtenstein. Like Picasso and the early modernists, he embraced the female figure, one of the most enduring art historical subjects. Lichtenstein also still used his signature ben-day dots, but in a much different way. These dots are much less contained; they extend beyond the figures’ outlines, becoming an independent part of the composition as opposed to a mechanism used to create color.

Lichtenstein began the series in 1994 and finished in 1997, the year of his death. However, we do know that he considered this body of work complete. The final painting in the series, Interior with Nude Leaving, shows the back of a female form leaving the room, signifying the end.

Roy Lichtenstein. Nudes with Beach Ball, 1994. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein. Private Collection.