Corlett Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints of Roy Lichtenstein

I.11. American Indian Theme Series, 1980

Corlett 160–165

With the exception of one woodcut in 1970 (RLCR 1876, Modern Head #1), the American Indian Theme series is Lichtenstein’s first use of the medium since the 1950s. With this series he also returns to one of the subjects he explored during that earlier period—the American Indian—combining the theme with surrealist overtones.

The six prints, begun at Tyler Graphics Ltd. in the spring of 1979, are closely related to the ten American Indian/Surrealist paintings he executed that year. (For a discussion of these paintings, see Cowart 1981b, p. 127–33.) All of the prints in this series are printed from hand-carved blocks. RLCR 2874, American Indian Theme IV also uses lithography for the white background. During this same period Lichtenstein also produced six intaglios with the same subject matter at Tyler Graphics Ltd. (see RLCR 2896, 2913, 2927, 2928, 2943, 2976). These, too, signaled a return to earlier processes; Lichtenstein had not used aquatint since the 1950s; etching, not since the early Pop print RLCR 745, On. Hand drawn on copperplates, the 1980s intaglios utilize etching, aquatint, soft-ground, and engraving. They are not referred to as a series but have individual, thematic titles.  Also at this time Lichtenstein produced two Untitled soft-ground etchings (RLCR 2994, 2995) with imagery similar to American Indian Theme I. They were published in 1981.

For each of these prints, the Tyler Graphics Ltd. catalogue raisonné (Tyler 1987) gives exact method and press types, as well as the initials of the printers for each run.

(Corlett 2002, p. 156)