Drowning Girl print by Roy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein’s Drowning Girl (also known as Secret Hearts or I Don’t Care! I’d Rather Sink) is a 1963 oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas painting based on Tony Abruzzo’s original art. The painting is regarded as one of Lichtenstein’s most important works, rivalling his celebrated 1963 diptych Whaam! Drowning Girl, one of the most iconic paintings of the pop art movement, was bought by the Museum of Modern Art in 1971.
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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Pop Art was never a cohesive movement. Instead, it inched its way up the international art scene, starting in the mid-1950s, as the invention of artists throughout Europe and the United States, artists who were often working independently and in isolation from each other.