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ROY LICHTENSTEIN Sheet of Native American Studies.
Pen and ink on paper, 1952-53. 353x280 mm; 13 7/8x11 inches. Signed in pen and ink, lower right recto.
Provenance: Private collection, Louisiana.
This work has been reviewed by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné.
Lichtenstein (1923-1997) earned his bachelor's degree at the Ohio State University in 1946 and a Master's in Fine Arts degree in 1949 (Lichtenstein also taught as an instructor in the fine arts department at Ohio State, a post he held intermittently during the 1950s). In 1951, Lichtenstein and his first wife, Isabel Wilson, moved to Cleveland and he also had his first solo exhibition at the Carlebach Gallery, New York.
During his time in Cleveland, Lichtenstein pursued Native American-themed subjects in his paintings, drawings and prints. He was inspired by a book he had borrowed from a fellow Ohio State colleague, Roy Pearce, a professor of literature, on the art of the 19th century American painter George Caitlin (1796-1872), who specialized in Native American scenes and portraits. According to a New York Times interview in 2005, Lichtenstein referred to his 1950s paintings as, "Taking the kind of stodgy pictures you see in history textbooks and redoing them in a modern-art way." These early drawings and paintings, appropriated from 19th century models, anticipate Lichtenstein's comic strip-inspired subjects from the early 1960s onward, and which are seen as pioneering works in the American Pop Art canon.