Drowning Girl – Our Latest Print by Roy Lichtenstein

Masterpiece of melodrama

The picture has been called a “masterpiece of melodrama,” It is one of the artist’s earliest depictions of women in sad situations, a theme he returned to frequently in the mid-1960s. It depicts a tearful woman on a stormy sea. She appears to be emotionally distraught as a result of a romance. A thinking bubble reads: Using comic book traditions, a thought bubble reads: “I don’t give a damn! I’d rather drown than call Brad for assistance!” This narrative element emphasises the cliched melodrama, while the graphics — which include Ben-Day dots that mimic the printing process — continue Lichtenstein’s motif of artistic work that imitates machine replication. The piece is based on a DC Comics panel from 1962. Both the creative and narrative aspects are trimmed from the original image. It also incorporates characteristics of contemporary artists Jean Arp and Joan Miró, as well as Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa. It’s one of several paintings by Lichtenstein that mentions a character named Brad who isn’t present.

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