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Printed in a rich terra cotta red on pale pink paper, Orgasm depicts a woman’s head in profile with a dark background. Kitaj was fascinated with the female form, often producing edgy and erotic work inspired by film stills and pulp novel covers. In this sensual print, Kitaj chose colors related to the body: pink, the color of lips and rosy cheeks, and dark red, evoking a rush of blood. With the composition cropped close to the woman’s head, the viewer is left to imagine her nude body outside the frame.
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.”
Copies of this lithograph are in the collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.