Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
80 x 68 in. (203.2 x 172.7 cm)
Signed and dated verso, upper left: 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: The Kiss, 1961 (RLCR 659)
RLCR 659 (LC 20; RL 0069)
The Kiss
Title Source
Castelli; RL Register; RL Studio Card
Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
80 x 68 in. (203.2 x 172.7 cm)
Signed and dated verso, upper left: rf Lichtenstein / '61
Related Works
Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Buckwalter, Kansas City, by May 1962 (via Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City)
Mr. Ralph T. Coe, Kansas City, Mo., late 1960s
Mr. and Mrs. S.I. Newhouse, Jr., New York City, c. 1980s
David Geffen, Los Angeles, prior to January 1993 (likely via Sotheby's private sale, New York)
Private collection, 1996
Leo Castelli Gallery (4 East 77th Street), New York, Roy Lichtenstein, February 10–March 3, 1962.
Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, Dallas, 1961, April 3–May 13, 1962 (Dallas MCA 1962, no. 22 b/w ill.).
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, The Atmosphere of '64, April 17–June 1, 1964 (Sharpless 1964).
William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City Collects: A Selection of Works of Art Privately Owned in the Greater Kansas City Area, January 21–February 28, 1965 (Coe 1965).
Contemporary Gallery, Jewish Community Center, Kansas City, Missouri, Inaugural Exhibition, November 5–30, 1966.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Roy Lichtenstein, September 19–November 9, 1969 (not Columbus) (Waldman 1969, no. 3 p. 28 b/w ill.). Traveled to: William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, Kansas City, Mo., December 18, 1969–January 16, 1970; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Ill., February 7–March 22, 1970; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Wash., April 10–May 17, 1970; Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio, July 9–August 30, 1970.
Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, Gene Swenson: Retrospective for a Critic, October 24–December 5, 1971 (University of Kansas Museum of Art 1971, no. 104 p. 19 color ill.).
Haus der Kunst, Munich, Amerikanische Malerei 1930–1980, November 14, 1981–January 31, 1982 (Armstrong, T, and Growe 1981, no. 163 p. 152 color ill.).
La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, California, Castelli and His Artists: Twenty-Five Years, April 23–June 6, 1982 (Aspen Center 1982). Traveled to: Aspen Center for the Visual Arts, Aspen, Colo., June 17–August 7, 1982; Leo Castelli Gallery (142 Greene St.), New York, N.Y., September 11–October 9, 1982 (as 25th Anniversary Exhibition of Leo Castelli); Portland Center for the Visual Arts, Portland, Ore., October 22–December 3, 1982; Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, Tex., December 17, 1982–February 13, 1983.
BlumHelman Gallery, New York, Roy Lichtenstein: Pop Masterpieces, 1961–1964, May 5–June 6, 1987 (BlumHelman 1987, no. 1 color ill.).
Fogg Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts, American Painting at Mid-Century: Highlights from a Private Collection, June 12–October 3, 1993 (until September 19, 1993) (Cuno 1993).
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, October 7, 1993–January 16, 1994 (only New York, Los Angeles) (Waldman 1993b, no. 101 n.p. facing p. 113 color ill.). Traveled to: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Calif., 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. 101 n.p. facing p. 113 color ill.); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany, February 8–April 30, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 101 n.p. facing p. 113 color ill.); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, June 2–September 3, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 101 n.p. facing p. 113 color ill.); Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, September 21, 1995–January 7, 1996 (abridged version) (Waldman 1994, no. 101 n.p. facing p. 113 color ill.).
Experience Music Project, Seattle, DoubleTake: From Monet to Lichtenstein, 28 Masterworks from the Paul Allen Family Collection, April 8–September 24, 2006 (Tucker 2006, p. 9 color ill. [foldout]).
Alfieri, Bruno. "USA: Verso la fine della pittura 'astratta'?/Vers la fin de la peinture 'abstraite'?/Towards the End of 'Abstract' Painting?" Metro (Milan), nos. 4–5 (May 1962), no. 25 p. 11 b/w ill. (sideways).
Edgar, Natalie. "Reviews and Previews: Roy Lichtenstein." ARTnews 61, no. 1 (March 1962), p. 14 b/w ill. (sideways).
Judd, Donald. "In the Galleries: Roy Lichtenstein." Arts Magazine (New York) 36, no. 7 (April 1962), p. 52 b/w ill.
Kozloff, Max. "Pop Culture, Metaphysical Disgust, and the New Vulgarians." Art International 6, no. 2 (March 1962), p. 36 b/w ill.
Borsick, Helen. "Roy Lichtenstein Makes Splash As Pop Artist." Plain Dealer (Cleveland), April 28, 1963, p. 2G b/w ill. (installation view, 1962a New York Castelli).
Rosenblum, Robert. "Roy Lichtenstein and the 'Realist' Revolt/La rivolta 'realista' americana: Lichtenstein." Metro (Milan), no. 8 (May 1963), no. 2 p. 38 b/w ill.
Saarinen, Aline B. "Explosion of Pop Art." Vogue 141, no. 8 (April 15, 1963), n.p. facing p. 86 b/w ill. (sideways).
Hultén, Pontus. Amerikansk Pop-Konst: 106 former av kärlek och förtvivlan. Stockholm: Moderna Museet, 1964. Exhibition catalogue (1964 Stockholm Moderna Museet), p. 41 b/w ill. (in purple), [not exhibited].
"Le Pop Art: La boîte de conserve devient objet d'art." Marie Claire (September 1964), p. 22 ill.
Becker, Jürgen, and Wolf Vostell, eds. Happenings: Fluxus, Pop Art, Nouveau, Réalisme. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1965, p. 34 b/w ill. (upside down).
Billeter, Erika. "Pop im Examen: Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, Rosenquist, Rauschenberg, Segal." Speculum artis (Konstanz and Zurich) 17, no. 9 (October 1965), p. 33 b/w ill.
Fry, Edward. "Inside the Trojan Horse." ARTnews 68, no. 6 (October 1969), p. 36 b/w ill.
Waldman, Diane. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1971, no. 11 n.p. b/w ill.
Coplans, John, ed. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1972, no. 6 n.p. b/w ill.
Henning, Edward B. "Reconstruction: A Painting by Jasper Johns." Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 60, no. 8 (October 1973), no. 5 p. 237 b/w ill.
Keller, Jean-Pierre. Pop art et évidence du quotidien. Lausanne: L’Âge d’Homme, 1979, n.p. facing p. 121 b/w ill.
Busche, Ernst A. Roy Lichtenstein: Das Frühwerk, 1942–1960. Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1988, fig. 139 p. 235 b/w ill.
Hendrickson, Janis. Roy Lichtenstein. Cologne: Benedikt Taschen, 1988, n.p. facing p. 34 color ill.
Busche, Ernst A. Roy Lichtenstein: Pop-Paintings, 1961–1969. Schirmer's visuelle Bibliothek 6. Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1989, no. 6 n.p. color ill.
Mahsun, Carol A., ed. Pop Art: The Critical Dialogue. Studies in the Fine Arts. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1989, p. 19 b/w ill.
Hendra, Tony. Brad '61: Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. New York: Pantheon Books, 1993, p. 53 color ill.
Hughes, Robert. "The Image Duplicator." Time 142, no. 19 (November 8, 1993), p. 83 color ill.
Wachtmeister, Marika. "Roy Lichtenstein: En lågmäld popkonstnär." Femina (Helsingborg, Sweden), no. 8 (August 1994), p. 99 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. 259 ill.
Serafini, Giuliano. Art e Dossier. Special issue, Lichtenstein (Milan), no. 152 (January 2000), p. 21 color ill.
Bader, Graham, ed. Roy Lichtenstein. October Files 7. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009, p. 2 b/w ill.
Bader, Graham. Hall of Mirrors: Roy Lichtenstein and the Face of Painting in the 1960s. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2010, no. 3.15 p. 108 b/w ill.
Dunne, Nathan. Roy Lichtenstein. London: Tate, 2012. Exhibition catalogue (2012 Chicago Art Institute), no. 23 p. 31 color ill. [not exhibited].
Dunne, Nathan. Roy Lichtenstein. Translated from the English by Sarah Dali. London: Tate, 2013. Exhibition catalogue (2012 Chicago Art Institute), no. 23 p. 31 color ill. [not exhibited].