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10 color lithograph on yellow Wookey Hole paper. Signed by the artist and numbered AP V/X lower left in pencil. (this is one of 10 artist’s proofs aside from edition of 30).
A nude woman reclines, her eyes closed in apparent ecstasy, while behind her, a man stands receiving fellatio from his red-haired partner. In the foreground, the woman’s hair cascades in a verdant floral pattern, reminiscent of Art Deco motifs. A moody, shadowed background sets off this dreamlike scene, dappled in soft, dark brown speckles. Translucent hues of yellow, green, brown, pink, and red set off Kitaj’s characteristic fine line work.
Of this composition, Kitaj remarked: “Marynka, in the foreground, dreams of the rash act. She posed for this lithograph when I was drawing her every week for a few years. [David] Hockney has introduced me to her after he drew her…She is still as upbeat, happy and optimistic as I am not.”
Known for his expressive style and charged imagery, Kitaj went against the grain of abstraction during his career, producing nuanced figurative work. This erotic scene displays Kitaj’s ability to evoke emotion and drama with fluid lines and gem-like color. A Rash Act is an example of Kitaj’s interest in playful, sensual compositions that were equally inspired by art history and popular culture. Kitaj was fascinated with the female form, often producing edgy and sensual work inspired by film stills and pulp novel covers.
A close friend of fellow Petersburg Press collaborator David Hockney, Kitaj was known as an expressive, superlative draftsman. Art critic Robert Hughes famously wrote of Kitaj in TIME magazine that “he draws better than almost anyone else alive.”
A copy of this print is in the collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.