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  • Orgasm (Sleeping Head) by R.B. Kitaj

Orgasm (Sleeping Head) by R.B. Kitaj

Petersburg Press

Colour Lithograph


Edition Size: 30

Image Size: 6.1 x 6.1 inches

Sheet Size: 17.25 x 21.75 inches

Reference: : Jane Kinsman The Prints of R.B. Kitaj, Scolar Press in association with the National Gallery of Australia 1994, no. 84 Jennifer Ramkalawon Kitaj Prints: a catalogue raisonné, The British Museum Press 2013, no. 197, illustrated p. 179


Condition: Pristine

Details — Click to read

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.


The Artist

R.B. Kitaj

R.B. Kitaj was born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. He enjoyed an extensive period in academia during the 1950s, first studying at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York from 1950-51, then returning in 1952. He spent time in the Merchant Navy in 1951 also attending the Academy of Fine Art, Vienna. Kitaj then went on to the Ruskin School of drawing in Oxford in 1958-9, and the Royal College of Art from 1959 to 1961. Kitaj recalled: “It was at the Royal College where, in the first week, I began my constant friendship with the amazing Hockney.”

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