Acrylic, oil, graphite pencil on canvas (three joined panels)
<span class="gray">Overall:</span> 348 x 116 in. (883.9 x 294.6 cm)<div class="div_addlDim"><span class="gray">Each panel:</span> 116 x 116 in. (294.6 x 294.6 cm) (approx.)</div>
Initialed top panel verso, upper left: rfl; signed middle panel verso, upper right: rf Lichtenstein; initialed top and bottom panels verso, upper left: rfl
Classification: painting


In this catalogue paintings are classified as follows:

Painting is a work with acrylic and/or oil on canvas or on another two-dimensional support (canvas board, wood panel, etc.)

Painting (mural) is a large-scale painting, historically called "mural"

Painting on paper describes a work in acrylic, oil or watercolor on paper or board


Lichtenstein usually signed and dated a painting on the verso around the time it was finished, inventoried or shipped to a gallery or storage. Some pre-Pop paintings were dated in code (e.g., RLCR 502). 

See also: 8. DATES

Media Lines

Described are all media visible on a painting's recto. Paint is listed first, followed by graphite pencil where present, followed by the support. An inscription's medium is given beneath the media line if different from the painting media.

Acrylic and Oil Paints

The painting media lines in this catalogue are rarely based on technical analysis by a museum or a conservator. They are mostly informed by conversations with the artist's studio assistants, by examination of paint jars and tubes that were kept after the artist's death and by RLF records or Leo Castelli Gallery files. 

In this catalogue, all types of acrylic paint are listed as "acrylic" and all types of oil paint as "oil."

Historically, the brand name "Magna" (acrylic dispersion paint by Bocour Artist Colors, Inc.) has been used to describe all of Lichtenstein's acrylic. RLF records and technical analysis by art museums confirm that the artist did not only use Magna, but at times Liquitex acrylic emulsion paint and, later, Golden Artist Colors acrylic dispersion paint. When Magna production stopped in c. 1990, Lichtenstein bought up large amounts of Magna. He also reached out to Golden who worked with him to devise custom MSA colors in Lichtenstein's hallmark hues.      

Pop paintings and later works were usually painted with both acrylic and oil. It is assumed that around 1962, Lichtenstein experimented with Liquitex and Magna before adopting Magna as the main medium. For paintings of 1962–63, media lines are informed by notes on RL Studio Cards and/or in the Leo Castelli Gallery inventory. In rare instances, media lines were written by the artist on the verso of a work (e.g., RLCR 691). For paintings of 1964 and beyond, solid colors are assumed to be acrylic and dots and diagonals oil. However, it is possible that Lichtenstein continued his experimentation with paints through and after 1964.

Graphite Pencil Underdrawing

A closer look at Lichtenstein's paintings reveals that graphite pencil underdrawing and palimpsest is visible in most of them, starting in the 1960s. Nevertheless, pencil has not historically been mentioned in the related media lines. Due to the artist's well-known intention that his work not appear "too finished," this catalogue includes pencil in media lines. If in question from examination report results or other documentation, the presence of graphite pencil is assumed. When a researcher's examination report confirms that pencil is not visible, it is not included. 

Painting: Other Mediums and Techniques

Different types of canvas are not described. A regular type used was #10 cotton duck from New York Central Art Supply. Circular canvases were at least partially ordered there as well. Earlier paintings' canvases are typically finer and sometimes described as "linen" in studio records. 

In the Imperfect/Perfect and Entablature paintings, grainy areas are visible. Lichtenstein created this texture by adding beach sand, usually to a thick white underlayer over which he applied the final color. 

This reductive technique of line-making is found in about 25 pre-Pop paintings. 

Stretchers are not included in media lines. Lebron stretchers were standard orders from c. 1972 on, and were typically delivered assembled. A different stretcher brand was introduced once and quickly abandoned.  

Strip frames
Strip frames are not included in media lines. Slightly raised above the edges, strip frames served as a practical protection during shipment and storage movements and were routinely added to paintings at least from the time James dePasquale became Lichtenstein's assistant.   

Painting on Paper: Other Mediums and Techniques

Masking out
Masking techniques are indicated, but the material used (e.g., frisket, small objects) is not identified (e.g., RLCR 219).

Watercolor application
When it is applied in multiple ways, watercolor application method is described, otherwise brush is implied. For example, see RLCR 365, “Watercolor, brushed, smudged by hand and sprayed, with masking out, graphite pencil on paper." 


Painting dimensions are given from canvas edge to canvas edge, excluding original wood strip frames nailed to the edges. 

For multi-panel paintings, if panels are joined, overall dimensions and dimensions of each canvas are given. If panels are separate, only panel dimensions are provided since overall dimensions vary by installation. Lichtenstein usually suggested a distance of approximately 7 inches between canvases for installation. This fact informed spacing of related images in the catalogue entries (e.g., RLCR 1635). 

See also: 10. DIMENSIONS

Signature, Inscriptions, Marks

The artist usually signed and dated his paintings on the canvas verso in charcoal and applied a spray fixative before sending it to a gallery or storage.  

Pre-Pop paintings are often signed or initialed on the recto in oil, or inscribed with the artist's name and other tombstone information on the stretcher or tacking margin. 

See also: 11. INSCRIPTIONS

Read more: Guide to the Catalogue
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Catalogue entry

Artwork: Big Modern Painting for Expo '67, 1967 (RLCR 1305)
RLCR 1305 (LC 439; RL 0159)
Big Modern Painting for Expo '67
Title Source
Alternate titles and sources: Big Modern Painting (Castelli); Big Modern Painting (67 Expo) (Castelli); Modern Painting for Expo '67 (RL Studio Card)
Acrylic, oil, graphite pencil on canvas (three joined panels)
Overall: 348 x 116 in. (883.9 x 294.6 cm)
Each panel: 116 x 116 in. (294.6 x 294.6 cm) (approx.)
Initialed top panel verso, upper left: rfl; signed middle panel verso, upper right: rf Lichtenstein; initialed top and bottom panels verso, upper left: rfl
Top panel verso: TOP OF TOP PANEL; middle panel verso: TOP OF CENTER PANEL; bottom panel verso: TOP OF BOTTOM PANEL
Related Works
Expo '67, United States Pavilion, Montreal, Expo '67: American Painting Now, April 28–October 29, 1967. Traveled to: Horticultural Hall, Boston, December 15, 1967–January 10, 1968. Sponsored by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Mass (Solomon, A. 1967a, color ill. [installation view]).
Documenta, Museum Fridericianum, Orangerie im Auepark, Kassel, Germany, 4. Documenta: Internationale Ausstellung, June 27–October 6, 1968 (installed horizontally) (Documenta 1968, p. 173 b/w ill. [vol. 1]).
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California, Painting in New York: 1944 to 1969, November 24, 1969–January 11, 1970 (installed horizontally) (Solomon, A. 1969b, no. 17 pp. 30–31 color ill. [double spread; sideways]).
Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Roy Lichtenstein, June 21–August 20, 1972 (installed horizontally) (Contemporary Arts Museum 1972, no. 4 pp. 16–17 b/w ill. [double spread; sideways]).
Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, San Diego, Monumental Paintings of the 60's, April 19–June 23, 1974 (Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego 1974, color ill. [sideways]).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Extended Loan, August 11, 1988–April 3, 1994.
Dienst, Rolf-Gunter. "Die documenta IV." Das Kunstwerk 21, nos. 11–12 (August–September 1968), p. 41 b/w ill. (installation view, 1968 Kassel Documenta).
Waldman, Diane. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1971, no. 153 n.p. color ill. (double spread, sideways).
Wilson, William. Art Center College of Design Exhibitions, 1980–1991: Twenty Years. Pasadena, Calif.: Art Center College of Design, 2001, pp. 42–43 color ill. (double spread).
Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. Roy Lichtenstein: Times Square Mural. New York: Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 2002. Exhibition catalogue (2002 New York Mitchell-Innes & Nash), n.p. color ill. (installation view, 1967 Montreal Expo), [not exhibited].
Richard Gray Gallery, New York and Chicago. Roy Lichtenstein: Modern Paintings. New York and Chicago: Richard Gray Gallery, 2010. Exhibition catalogue (2010 New York Gray), n.p. facing p. 30 color ill. [not exhibited].
Gagosian Gallery, New York, and Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Roy Lichtenstein: Greene Street Mural. New York: Gagosian Gallery, 2015. Exhibition catalogue (2015 New York Gagosian), fig. 5 p. 79 color ill. (installation view, 1967 Montreal Expo), [not exhibited].
Archival Material
Entry Updated December 5, 2023