Expressionist Woodcuts

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Composed of energetic lines and bright colors, Roy Lichtenstein’s “Expressionist Heads” (1980) was a breakthrough print series for the Pop artist. The portfolio includes Lichtenstein’s first depictions of nude women and his first use of the woodcut printmaking technique—both of which would feature prominently in his later works. Lichtenstein’s inspiration for “Expressionist Heads” began when he met Robert Rifkind, an avid collector of German Expressionist woodcuts, at a dinner party in Los Angeles in 1978. Rifkind invited Lichtenstein to visit his collection in person, and the artist spent hours studying the jagged, expressive lines of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Pechstein, and Erich Heckel up close. While working on the “Expressionist Heads” woodcuts, Lichtenstein invited Rifkind into the printmaking studio at Gemini G.E.L., allowing the collector a preview of the works that their friendship inspired. Throughout the 1980s, Lichtenstein continued to draw from his research on German …

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