In this catalogue, the classification drawing refers to any work with primarily drawn lines on paper and similar supports.
Sub-classifications are works with unique supports and/or function:
Drawing (color separation) defines works intended for transfer to a print matrix for a single color run of a print. Many color separation drawings contain collage elements in addition to drawn line.
Drawing (in a book), drawing (in a notebook), drawing (in a sketchbook) and drawing (in/from a guestbook) refer to drawings on different bound supports (or in the case of guestbooks, also removed from bound supports).
Drawing (instructional) works are a small group of demonstration drawings the artist made for students or friends.
Drawing (on print) is assigned to marker drawings on photographic supports, primarily color studies over photographs of drawings.
Drawing (pastel) refers to a specific group of early drawings in pastel.
Drawing (technical) refers to designs for the artist's utilitarian inventions.
Drawings with one or more small attachment, usually printed paper clippings or cut paper "corrections," are included in any of the groups above.
Most of Lichtenstein's known drawings were a starting point to develop ideas and compositions for paintings, sculptures and prints. In this catalogue, these drawings carry the title of the finished/final work followed by "(Study)," such as, RLCR 2560, Figures (Study). Titles of drawings with no or unknown related final works were assigned per the methodology described in 6. TITLES.
The artist usually signed and/or dated his drawings once they left his studio. At times, this was years after completion and the date of creation was misremembered. Those dates have been corrected with a remark explaining the rationale. In the absence of an artist date, dates usually follow the RL Studio Card (RLF Archives), or the date of a related subsequent work (e.g., a more finished collage, or final painting) with the qualifier "c."
All visible media on the recto is described. Media is listed in order of visual predominance as indicated by the researcher, followed by the support, usually paper. Lichtenstein mostly drew with graphite and colored pencil; a greater variety of media is found in his early works on paper.
Where relevant, the implement with the medium is given (e.g., pen and india ink, brush and india ink, etc.). Colors of mediums are not described. General media terms are used instead of brand names with some exceptions (see below). For most definitions and styles, entries follow: Ash, Nancy, Scott Homolka, and Stephanie Lussier. Guidelines for Descriptive Terminology for Works of Art on Paper. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2014.
If the medium of a signature or mark is not used in the image, the medium is added separately below the media line.
See also: 9. MEDIA AND SUPPORT
Entries include both sheet and image dimensions unless a work was overmatted or could not be unframed for examination. In those cases only image dimensions are given. When an examination was not possible, the dimensions found in the RLF Archives or other sources are given and cited in Remarks.
See also: 10. DIMENSIONS
Signature, Inscriptions, Marks
The artist signed and dated his drawings primarily in graphite pencil. Signatures and/or initials are found on recto or verso, with and without dates. Marks by the artist on the recto (e.g., dimensions, top indications) are not transcribed since they can be viewed in the Primary Image of an entry.
See also: 11. INSCRIPTIONS
Process and Media Details
In this catalogue, most drawing supports are broadly defined as paper. Specific types identified in entries are colored paper, ruled paper, graph paper, tracing paper and Denril (although technically not paper).
Colored paper refers to any paper to which we believe the manufacturer added a coloring agent. It typically is not applicable to off-white and to tan-colored papers.
Ruled paper and graph paper describe papers with printed parallel or gridded lines. Drawings are also found on graph board.
Tracing paper and Denril are translucent supports Lichtenstein used for tracing images for color studies, transfer drawings, or projection. Tracing paper is a fibrous paper substrate, whereas Denril looks similar to tracing paper, but is a plastic (polypropylene) film. Denril is one of the materials identified in this catalogue by brand name due to the fact that the artist's assistants confirm that it was used consistently in the studio and its physical characteristics have been defined with some certainty.
Non-paper and unusual supports are identified to the best of the authors' knowledge (e.g., board, parchment, envelope, canvas board). For photocopy and stationery, paper is implied.
For works classified as drawing (in a book), the support is inside the commercially printed book (e.g., book page, inside back book cover).
For works classified as drawing (in a notebook), drawing (in a sketchbook) and drawing (in/from a guestbook), the support is paper; it is implied that the paper is inside the notebook, sketchbook or guestbook, respectively.
In the case of multiple adjacent supports, we give the number of sheets and indicate if they are joined. We only include secondary supports when we consider them to be original.
Bolder graphite lines and fill have often been confused with black colored pencil, which the artist rarely used. Thicker graphite lines sometimes suggest the use of graphite stick. Due to a lack of definite confirmation, in this catalogue, all graphite lines are categorized as graphite pencil.
When describing ink, we provide the implement as well as the medium to the best of our knowledge (e.g., pen and ink, brush and ink, ink wash). When we can be more specific we identify ballpoint pen and marker (any porous-point pen).
When known, we distinguished between ink and india ink. Modern india ink is a deeply black ink made waterproof with shellac. The resinous substance gives the ink a characteristic sheen, which we used as a means for identification.
For paint on drawings, we distinguish between opaque watercolor (sometimes called gouache), watercolor, oil and acrylic. Application by brush is implied. Works made primarily from these paints are classified instead as painting (on paper). Brushed-on white corrections are characterized as correction fluid or opaque watercolor, as we have not determined exactly what the artist used. When paint type is unknown, we make an educated guess and include a question mark.
In a of couple early drawings, Lichtenstein applied an unknown resinous substance we call resin.
Most drawing attachments are cut paper corrections with graphite pencil and/or colored pencil additions. We do not include method of attachment in the media line unless it is visible from the recto.
Printed paper clippings are sometimes incorporated into the image or serve as a starting point (source material) for an idea.
Color and dots swatches are attached to drawings sent to printmakers for instructional purposes.
Other miscellaneous attachments are described to the best of the authors' knowledge.
When media application involved a masking out technique, the medium is listed followed by “with masking out.” The material used for masking (e.g., frisket or small objects) is not identified.
If the media is manipulated with a wash of water applied by brush, it is listed as “wetted brush.”
When lines are created by scratching through the media and revealing the support, the entry says "with scratching out."
Tracings and Transfer Drawings
In addition to tracings from projections, Lichtenstein traced directly from source material or from his own drawings and collages onto tracing paper and Denril. Tracings that are drawn on on both sides are referred to as transfer drawings.
Ernst Busche’s Roy Lichtenstein: Das Frühwerk (Busche 1988) was a major guide when defining media lines for the artist's pre-Pop works. Busche viewed many of the early drawings in person and was sometimes able to consult with Lichtenstein.
Sketchbook Page Matches
For drawings the authors connected to a sketchbook or sketchbook (nonextant), the respective chapters explain how connections were determined.