Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
48 3/16 x 48 1/8 in. (122.4 x 122.2 cm)
Initialed lower right: 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: I Can See the Whole Room! ... And There's Nobody in It!, 1961 (RLCR 639)
RLCR 639 (LC 10; RL 0062)
I Can See the Whole Room! ... And There's Nobody in It!
Title Source
Alternate titles and sources: I Can See the Whole Room ... And There's Nobody in It (Castelli); I Can See the Whole Room and There's Nobody in It... (RL Studio Card); Whole Room (RL Register)
Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
48 3/16 x 48 1/8 in. (122.4 x 122.2 cm)
Initialed lower right: rfl
Burton and Emily Tremaine, Meriden, Conn., November 1961 (via Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City)
(Christie's, New York, November 9, 1988, sale 6722, lot 27)
Private collection, New York
(Christie's, New York, November 8, 2011, sale 2480, lot 34)
Private collection
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, American Painting and Sculpture from Connecticut Collections, July 25–September 9, 1962.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Six Painters and the Object, March 14–June 12, 1963 (only New York) (Alloway 1963b). Traveled to: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, July 24–August 25, 1963 (with a supplementary exhibition titled Six More); Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, September 3–29, 1963; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan, October 9–November 3, 1963 (with a supplementary exhibition titled A New Realist Supplementary) (Sachs, Samuel 1963); Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, November 18–December 29, 1963 (Sachs, Samuel 1963); Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, January 17–February 23, 1964 (Sachs, Samuel 1963); Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio, March 8–April 5, 1964 (Sachs, Samuel 1963); The Art Center in La Jolla, La Jolla, California, April 20–May 17, 1964 (Sachs, Samuel 1963).
Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, The New Art, March 1–22, 1964 (Green 1964).
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940–1970, October 18, 1969–February 1, 1970 (Geldzahler 1969, no. 228 p. 216 b/w ill.).
Stamford Museum, Stamford, Connecticut, The Eye of the Collector: Contemporary Art, March 20–May 21, 1978.
Pace Gallery (32 East 57th Street), New York, Eight Painters of the 60s: Selections from the Tremaine Collection, March 28–April 26, 1980.
Whitney Museum of American Art, Downtown Branch at Federal Hall National Monument, New York, The Comic Art Show: Cartoons in Painting and Popular Culture, July 13–August 31, 1983 (Carlin and Wagstaff, Sheena 1983, p. 69 b/w ill.).
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, The Tremaine Collection: 20th Century Masters, The Spirit of Modernism, February 26–April 29, 1984 (Wadsworth 1984, p. 99 color ill.).
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Pop Art 1955–70, February 27–April 14, 1985 (Geldzahler 1985, p. 60 color ill.). Traveled to: Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia, April 30–June 2, 1985; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, June 25–August 11, 1985.
Larry Gagosian Gallery (521 West 23rd Street), New York, Pop Art from the Tremaine Collection, October 4–November 16, 1985.
Berg, Paul. "About-Face from the Abstract." St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sunday Pictures, December 31, 1961, p. 10 b/w ill. (as Peephole; in collectors' home).
Loran, Erle. "Pop Artists or Copy Cats?" ARTnews 62, no. 5 (September 1963), p. 61 b/w ill.
Hultén, Pontus. Amerikansk Pop-Konst: 106 former av kärlek och förtvivlan. Stockholm: Moderna Museet, 1964. Exhibition catalogue (1964 Stockholm Moderna Museet), p. 19 b/w ill. (in pink), [not exhibited].
Lichtenstein, Roy, and Colette Roberts. "Interview de Roy Lichtenstein." Aujourd'hui: Art et architecture 10, nos. 55–56 (December 1966–January 1967), no. 9 p. 127 b/w ill. (foldout).
Boime, Albert. "Roy Lichtenstein and the Comic Strip." Art Journal 28, no. 2 (Winter 1968–69), no. 1 p. 156 b/w ill.
Compton, Michael. Pop Art. London: Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1970, no. 100 p. 96 b/w ill. (as I Can See the Whole Room).
Weber, Jürgen. Pop Art: Happenings und Neue Realisten. Munich: Heinz Moos Verlag, 1970, no. 65 p. 55 b/w ill.
Crespo, Ángel. Roy Lichtenstein y el arte pop. Mayagüez: Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1970. Exhibition catalogue (1970 Mayagüez Universidad de Puerto Rico), no. 2 n.p. b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Crespo, Ángel. "Roy Lichtenstein y el arte pop." Revista de arte/The Art Review (Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagüez), no. 5 (June 1970), no. 2 p. 11 b/w ill.
Kettlewood, Beatrice Card. "A Study of Visual Space in Selected American Paintings 1945–1965: In Relation to the 1970–1972 Paintings of the Artist-Investigator." EdD diss., New York University, New York, 1972, no. 25 p. 138 b/w ill.
Coplans, John, ed. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1972, no. 5 n.p. b/w ill.
Dubreuil-Blondin, Nicole. La Fonction critique dans le Pop Art américain. Montreal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1980, no. 43 n.p. b/w ill.
Staniszewski, Mary Anne. "Pop's Public Relations." Art and Text, no. 19 (October–December 1985), p. 82 b/w ill.
Busche, Ernst A. Roy Lichtenstein: Das Frühwerk, 1942–1960. Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1988, fig. 160 p. 248 b/w ill. (as I Can See the Whole Room).
Hendrickson, Janis. Roy Lichtenstein. Cologne: Benedikt Taschen, 1988, p. 78 b/w ill.
Busche, Ernst A. Roy Lichtenstein: Pop-Paintings, 1961–1969. Schirmer's visuelle Bibliothek 6. Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1989, no. 4 n.p. color ill.
Hindry, Ann, ed. Artstudio. Special issue, Roy Lichtenstein, no. 20 (Spring 1991), p. 130 color ill.
Jancène, France. "Les mots dans la peinture pop américaine: Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol et Roy Lichtenstein." PhD diss., Université de Paris X, Nanterre, 1997, p. 257 ill.
Clearwater, Bonnie. Roy Lichtenstein: Inside/Outside. North Miami: Museum of Contemporary Art, 2001. Exhibition catalogue (2001 North Miami MOCA), fig. 27 p. 52 color ill. [not exhibited].
Francis, Mark. Les années pop, 1956–1968. Paris: Gallimard and Centre Georges Pompidou, 2001. Exhibition catalogue (2001 Paris Pompidou), no. 61.28 color ill. [not exhibited].
Lobel, Michael. "Technology Envisioned: Lichtenstein's Monocularity." Oxford Art Journal 24, no. 1 (2001), no. 1 p. 134 b/w ill.
Lobel, Michael. Image Duplicator: Roy Lichtenstein and the Emergence of Pop Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002, no. 42 p. 76 color ill.
Louisiana revy (Humlebaek, Denmark). Special issue, Roy Lichtenstein 44, no. 1 (August 2003), p. 9 color ill.
Reference Material
SRC 21221
Steve Roper
August 6, 1961

Overgard, William (artist), and Allen Saunders (author). Steve Roper (August 6, 1961), Publishers Syndicate.

Entry Updated December 7, 2023