Part of a series of similar works Lichtenstein embarked on in the mid 1960s after producing a number of interpretations of masterpieces by Cézanne, Mondrian and Picasso, Brushstroke With Splatter can viewed as a valiant swipe at the common charge of inadequate or non-existent technical ability frequently levied by unsympathetic critics and a hostile public at artists who have the audacity to break from traditional forms.
From this perspective, it is both a witty riposte to this tiresome accusation, and a compelling counter-argument. The capability of the artist to work according to accepted discipline is not in question, the viewer's ability to grasp the message of the work, on the other hand, most definitely is.
Devoid of context and lacking a specific narrative, Brushstroke With Splatter represents a marked departure from the action-packed scenes depicted in Lichtenstein's most famous works such as Oh, Jeff...I Love You, Too...But... and Whaam! 1963.
By virtue of this uncompromising simplicity, however, it arguably exemplifies the very essence of his signature style. While there is no text or recognisable objects, the intricate, freewheeling brushwork which is so potently absent from his paintings is reproduced in forensic detail, as if viewed through a microscope and presented in primary colours for mass reproduction. This adds an element of heightened minimalism to the mix, while retaining a Lichtenstein's unmistakable look and feel.
Lichtenstein himself described the series of which Brushstroke With Splatter is part as a satirical response to Abstract Expressionism, a movement which was subjected to a similar degree of hostility in its day as he experienced in his. In this context, the eventual acceptance of Abstract Expressionism lends Brushstroke With Splatter and other works in the series their most powerful message, a message to which the ubiquity Lichtenstein's art enjoys today is a testament.