Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
48 1/8 x 69 3/16 in. (122.2 x 175.7 cm)
Initialed lower left: rfl; signed and dated verso, upper right: rf Lichtenstein / '61
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: Look Mickey, 1961 (RLCR 643) Photo: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington
RLCR 643 (LC D; RL 0057)
Look Mickey
Title Source
Castelli; RL Studio Card
Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
48 1/8 x 69 3/16 in. (122.2 x 175.7 cm)
Initialed lower left: rfl; signed and dated verso, upper right: rf Lichtenstein / '61
Stretcher: [up arrow indicating top of artwork]
Photo: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington
Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York, Roy Lichtenstein: Paintings, August 8–September 19, 1982.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Twentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture: Selections for the Tenth Anniversary of the East Building, December 13, 1988–December 31, 1990 (Strick 1988).
Museum of Modern Art, New York, High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture, October 7, 1990–January 15, 1991 (only New York) (Varnedoe and Gopnik 1990a, no. 71 p. 196 color ill.); (Varnedoe and Gopnik 1990b). Traveled to: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, February 23–May 12, 1991; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, June 21–September 15, 1991.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, October 7, 1993–January 16, 1994 (Waldman 1993b, no. 19 n.p. facing p. 21 color ill.). Traveled to: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, January 26–April 3, 1994; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Montreal, May 26–September 5, 1994; Haus der Kunst, Munich, October 13, 1994–January 9, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 19 n.p. facing p. 21 color ill.); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany, February 8–April 30, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 19 n.p. facing p. 21 color ill.); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, June 2–September 3, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 19 n.p. facing p. 21 color ill.); Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, September 21, 1995–January 7, 1996 (abridged version) (Waldman 1994, no. 19 n.p. facing p. 21 color ill.).
Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey, Off Limits: Rutgers University and the Avant-Garde, 1957–1963, February 18–May 16, 1999 (Marter 1999b, no. 17 n.p. color ill.).
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris, Les années Pop, 1956–1968, March 15–June 18, 2001 (Francis, M. 2001, no. 61.34 color ill. [double spread]).
Louisiana Museum of Art, Humlebaek, Denmark, Roy Lichtenstein: All about Art, August 22, 2003–January 18, 2004 (Holm, Tøjner, and Caiger-Smith 2003a, no. 3 n.p. following p. 31 color ill.). Traveled to: Hayward Gallery, London, February 26–May 16, 2004 (as Roy Lichtenstein); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, June 24–September 27, 2004 (as Roy Lichtenstein) (Holm, Tøjner, and Caiger-Smith 2003b, no. 3 n.p. following p. 31 color ill.); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, October 20, 2004–February 22, 2005 (as Roy Lichtenstein) (Holm, Tøjner, and Caiger-Smith 2003b, no. 3 n.p. following p. 31 color ill.).
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, May 16–September 3, 2012 (Rondeau and Wagstaff, Sheena 2012, no. 8 n.p. color ill.). Traveled to: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., October 14, 2012–January 13, 2013; Tate Modern, London, February 21–May 27, 2013 (as Lichtenstein: A Retrospective) (Dunne 2012, no. 21 p. 28 color ill.); Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris, July 3–November 4, 2013 (as Roy Lichtenstein, revised and reorganized) (Dunne 2013, no. 21 p. 28 color ill.); (Pompidou 2013, p. 5 color ill.); (Morineau 2013a, n.p. facing p. 31 color ill. [detail], no. 1 p. 69 color ill.).
Seiberling, Dorothy (Photographs by John Loengard). "Is He the Worst Artist in the U.S.?" Life 56, no. 5 (January 31, 1964), p. 80 color ill.
Rublowsky, John (Photographs by Ken Heyman). Pop Art: Images of the American Dream. New York: Basic Books, 1965, n.p. following p. 48 b/w ill. (with artist in studio).
"Lichtenstein: Mythos von Mickey." Der Spiegel, December 11, 1967, p. 161 b/w ill. (in studio).
Hamilton, Richard. "Roy Lichtenstein." Studio International 175, no. 896 (January 1968), p. 20 b/w ill.
Waldman, Diane. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1969. Exhibition catalogue (1969 New York Guggenheim), p. 13 b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Compton, Michael. Pop Art. London: Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1970, no. 98 n.p. preceding p. 96 b/w ill. (double spread; with artist).
Coplans, John, ed. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1972, p. 34 b/w ill.
Alloway, Lawrence. American Pop Art. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1974. Exhibition catalogue (1974 New York Whitney), no. 7 n.p. b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Dubreuil-Blondin, Nicole. "Roy Lichtenstein: L'atelier d'artiste ou l'auto-référence dans le pop." Parachute, no. 19 (Summer 1980), p. 14 ill.
Alloway, Lawrence. "Reassessing Roy Lichtenstein." Portfolio (New York) 3, no. 4 (July–August 1981), p. 52 color ill.
Burstein, Patricia (Photographs by Arthur Schatz). "Artist Roy Lichtenstein Has Laid Low for a Decade, but He Isn't Reduced to Yard Sales." People 15, no. 22 (June 8, 1981), p. 86 b/w ill. (installation view, 1981 St. Louis Art Museum).
Jodidio, Philip (Photographs by Pascal Hinous). "Roy Lichtenstein and the Comic Process." Connaissance des arts, no. 349 (March 1981), p. 63 color ill.
Zänker, Jürgen. "Walter Benjamins Kunstwerk-Aufsatz im Lichte der Pop-Art: Dargestellt am Beispiel Roy Lichtensteins." In Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch: Westdeutsches Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte, vol. 42, by Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne. Cologne: DuMont Buchverlag, 1981, no. 1 p. 305 ill.
Cowart, Jack. Roy Lichtenstein 1970–1980. New York: Hudson Hills Press in association with the St. Louis Art Museum, 1981. Exhibition catalogue (1981 St. Louis Art Museum), p. 75 b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Lichtenstein, Roy, and Arnaud De Sercey. "Roy Lichtenstein: Être provacateur est un besoin pour un pientre." Galerie des arts, no. 214 (December 1982), p. 55 b/w ill.
Cowart, Jack. Roy Lichtenstein 1970–1980. Translated from the English by Nicolas Hepp. Munich: Prestel Verlag, 1982. Exhibition catalogue (1981 St. Louis Art Museum), no. 68 p. 75 b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Harrison, Helen A. "A Look at Roy Lichtenstein's Rarely Seen Art." New York Times, August 8, 1982, Long Island Weekly, p. 1 ill. (with artist in studio).
Cowart, Jack. Roy Lichtenstein 1970–1980. Translated from the English by Stefania Coppi. Florence: Electa, 1982. Exhibition catalogue (1981 St. Louis Art Museum), p. 45 b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Carlin, John, and Sheena Wagstaff. The Comic Art Show: Cartoons in Painting and Popular Culture. New York: Fantagraphics Books, 1983. Exhibition catalogue (1983 New York Whitney Downtown), n.p. facing p. 58 b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Chávarri, Raúl. "Lichtenstein y Warhol." Cuadernos hispanoamericanos (Madrid), no. 398 (August 1983), n.p. facing p. 395 b/w ill.
Cowart, Jack. Roy Lichtenstein 1970–1980. Tokyo: Seibu Museum of Art, 1983. Exhibition catalogue (1981 St. Louis Art Museum), p. 71 b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Alloway, Lawrence. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Abbeville Press, 1983, no. 4 p. 12 b/w ill.
Haskell, Barbara. Blam! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism, and Performance, 1958–1964. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1984. Exhibition catalogue (1984 New York Whitney), no. 96 p. 77 b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Stich, Sidra. Made in U.S.A.: An Americanization in Modern Art, the '50s and '60s. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. Exhibition catalogue (1987 Berkeley UC Art Museum), no. 153 p. 154 b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Busche, Ernst A. Roy Lichtenstein: Das Frühwerk, 1942–1960. Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1988, fig. 121 p. 225 b/w ill.
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Sandler, Irving. American Art of the 1960s. New York: Harper & Row, 1988, no. 59 p. 165 b/w ill.
Busche, Ernst A. Roy Lichtenstein: Pop-Paintings, 1961–1969. Schirmer's visuelle Bibliothek 6. Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1989, no. 1 n.p. color ill.
Berri, Claude. Claude Berri recontre Leo Castelli. Edited by Ann Hindry. Paris: Renn, 1990, p. XXIV color ill.
Livingstone, Marco. Pop Art: A Continuing History. 1st ed. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1990, no. 101 n.p. following p. 73 color ill. (double spread).
Hindry, Ann, ed. Artstudio. Special issue, Roy Lichtenstein, no. 20 (Spring 1991), n.p. preceding p. 6 color ill.
Contemporary Great Masters: Roy Lichtenstein. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd., 1992, no. 1 n.p. color ill.
Mamiya, Christin J. Pop Art and Consumer Culture: American Super Market. Edited by William H. Goetzmann. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992, no. 42 p. 88 b/w ill.
Seitz, William C. Art in the Age of Aquarius, 1955–1970. Edited by Marla Price. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992, no. 57 p. 71 b/w ill.
Filler, Martin (Photographs by Michel Comte). "Pop's Granddad." Vanity Fair 56, no. 8 (August 1993), pp. 129–130 b/w ill. (double spread; with artist).
Vernissage Köln. Special issue, Roy Lichtenstein in München, no. 9 (September 1994), pp. 18–19 color ill. (double spread).
Christoph, Horst. "Takka Takka, Whaam!" Profil (Vienna), no. 41 (October 11, 1994), p. 100 color ill.
Lichtenstein, Roy, and Robert Enright. "Pop Goes the Tradition: An Interview with Roy Lichtenstein." Border Crossings (Winnipeg, Manitoba) 13, no. 3 (August 1994), p. 25 color ill.
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BT: Bijutsu techō (Tokyo). Special Issue, Roy Lichtenstein 60's–90's 46, no. 689 (June 1994), p. 20 color ill.
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Jancène-Jaigu, France. "L'autocitation chez Roy Lichtenstein: de Artist's Studio, Look Mickey à la série des Reflections." In L'art dans l'art: littérature, musique et arts visuels: monde anglophone, edited by Bernard Brugière, Marie-Christine Lemardeley, and André Topia. Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne nouvelle, 2000, pp. 347–353 not ill.
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Louisiana revy (Humlebaek, Denmark). Special issue, Roy Lichtenstein 44, no. 1 (August 2003), no. 3 n.p. following p. 11 color ill.
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Tøjner, Poul Erik. "Fra idé til i dag." Louisiana magasin (Humlebaek, Denmark), no. 10 (August 2003), p. 3 color ill.
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Wattolik, Eva. Die Parodie im Frühwerk Roy Lichtensteins: Comic-Gemälde 1961–1964. Weimar: Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenchaften, 2005, no. 1 p. 141 color ill.
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Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. Roy Lichtenstein Reflected. New York: Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 2010. Exhibition catalogue (2010 New York Mitchell-Innes & Nash), n.p. facing p. 45 color ill. [not exhibited].
Bader, Graham. Hall of Mirrors: Roy Lichtenstein and the Face of Painting in the 1960s. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2010, no. 2.1 p. 44 b/w ill.
Dervaux, Isabelle. Roy Lichtenstein: The Black-and-White Drawings, 1961–1968. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz in association with the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 2010. Exhibition catalogue (2010 New York Morgan), fig. 4 p. 32 color ill. [not exhibited].
Dervaux, Isabelle. Roy Lichtenstein: Black & White, 1961–1968. Translated from the English by Andrea Bargenda, Barbara Holle, Marion Kagerer, Christian Quatmann, and Heike Reissig. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz in association with the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 2011. Exhibition catalogue (2010 New York Morgan), fig. 4 p. 36 color ill. [not exhibited].
Pommereau, Claude, ed. Roy Lichtenstein au Centre Pompidou. Issy-les-Moulineaux, France: Beaux Arts Éditions, 2013, p. 45 color ill.
Entry Updated October 26, 2023