Oil, acrylic, graphite pencil on canvas
68 x 80 in. (172.7 x 203.2 cm)
Signed and dated verso, upper right: rf Lichtenstein / '62
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: Live Ammo (Blang), 1962 (RLCR 706)
Artwork: Live Ammo (Blang), 1962 (RLCR 706)  Live Ammo as a single artwork
Artwork: Live Ammo (Blang), 1962 (RLCR 706)  Live Ammo as a single artwork
RLCR 706 (LC 66; RL 0100)
Live Ammo (Blang)
Title Source
Castelli; RL Studio Card
Alternate titles and sources: Live Ammo (Blang) Panel 2 of 4 (RLF); Live Ammo (Center Panel) (RL Register)
Oil, acrylic, graphite pencil on canvas
68 x 80 in. (172.7 x 203.2 cm)
Signed and dated verso, upper right: rf Lichtenstein / '62
By artist verso, upper right: PANEL 3 OF 5. Stretcher: # / 66 [twice]

Live Ammo is the title of a five-paneled work that may have been shown as such in the back room of Leo Castelli Gallery at the time of Lichtenstein's first solo show there (1962 New York Castelli). That same year the paintings were separated and subsequently sold as a diptych: RLCR 708, Live Ammo (Take Cover!); and three single paintings: RLCR 709 Live Ammo (Tzing!), RLCR 706 Live Ammo (Blang) and RLCR 707, Live Ammo (Ha! Ha! Ha!).

(all Primary Images)
Edwin Janss, Jr., Los Angeles, November 1962 (via Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City)
Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich, c. 1970
Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne, c. 1975
Private collection, Geneva, by 1976
BlumHelman Gallery, Inc., New York City
Ted Ashley, Los Angeles (via Harold Diamond, New York City)
(Christie's, New York, November 12, 1986, sale 6236, lot 8 as Blang)
Galerie Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland, Thomas Ammann Fine Art AG, Zurich, and BlumHelman Gallery, New York City
Seibu Department Stores, Ltd., Tokyo, by 1993
Private collection, Los Angeles
(Christie's, New York, May 7, 1997, sale 8642, lot 42)
The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection (The Broad), June 1997. B-LICH-2P97.09
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 66th Annual American Exhibition: Directions in Contemporary Painting and Sculpture, January 1–February 10, 1963 (only Chicago) (Art Institute of Chicago 1963). Traveled to: Centre Culturel Américain, Paris, May 10–June 20, 1963 (as De A à Z: 31 peintures américains choisis par The Art Institute of Chicago) (Centre Culturel Américain 1963).
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California, Roy Lichtenstein, April 18–May 28, 1967 (Coplans 1967a, no. 4 p. 28 b/w ill. [as Blaang]). Traveled to: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, June 23–July 30, 1967.
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Roy Lichtenstein, November 4–December 17, 1967 (Stedelijk Museum 1967, no. 14 b/w ill.). Traveled to: Tate Gallery, London, January 6–February 4, 1968 (Tate 1968b, no. 13 p. 24 b/w ill.); Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland, February 23–March 31, 1968 (Kunsthalle Bern 1968, no. 12 b/w ill.); (Tate 1968a, no. 14 p. 24 b/w ill.); Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany, April 13–May 19, 1968 (Kestner-Gesellschaft 1968, no. 12 p. 75 b/w ill. [cropped]).
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California, Painting in New York: 1944 to 1969, November 24, 1969–January 11, 1970 (Solomon, A. 1969b, no. 16 p. 40 b/w ill. [as Live Ammo]).
Leo Castelli Gallery (4 East 77th Street), New York, Group Exhibition (John Chamberlain, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Morris, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol), June 30–August 28, 1970.
Galerie Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland, Roy Lichtenstein, June 19–September 8, 1973 (Beyeler [Galerie] 1973, no. 1 color ill.).
Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Geneva, Peinture Américaine en Suisse 1950–1965, July 8–October 4, 1976 (Goerg 1976, p. 28 color ill. [as Blang]).
BlumHelman Gallery, New York, Roy Lichtenstein: Pop Masterpieces, 1961–1964, May 5–June 6, 1987 (BlumHelman 1987, no. 5 color ill. [as Blang]).
Museum of Modern Art, Shiga, Japan, American Painting of the 1950s and 1960s, July 22–September 17, 1989 (Museum of Modern Art, Shiga 1989, no. 51 p. 92 color ill.).
Zeitgeist-Gesellschaft, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Amerikanische Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert: Malerei und Plastik, May 8–July 25, 1993 (Joachimides and Rosenthal, N. 1993, no. 178 n.p. color ill. [as Blang]). Traveled to: Royal Academy of Arts, London, September 16–December 12, 1993 (as American Art in the 20th Century: Painting and Sculpture 1913–1993, with an additional section shown concurrently at Saatchi Gallery, London, with no Lichtenstein works on view).
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Revolution: Art of the Sixties from Warhol to Beuys, September 30–December 10, 1995 (Minami 1995, no. 98 p. 193 color ill.).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons: Four Decades of Art from the Broad Collections, October 7, 2001–January 6, 2002 (Barron and Zelevansky 2001, n.p. facing p. 69 color ill.). Traveled to: Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., March 16–June 3, 2002; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, July 28–October 20, 2002; Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain, February 15–September 7, 2003.
Bourdon, David, Jr. "Nya amerikanska realister." Konstrevy (Stockholm) 39, no. 2 (1963), p. 47 ill.
"I mercanti d'arte: Leo Castelli, New York: La sua storia, la sua galleria." Domus (Milan), no. 406 (September 9, 1963), p. 48 b/w ill.
Hultén, Pontus. "Om Pop-Kunsten." Louisiana revy (Humlebaek, Denmark) 4, no. 1 (September 1963), p. 13 b/w ill.
Lichtenstein, Roy, and Colette Roberts. "Interview de Roy Lichtenstein." Aujourd'hui: Art et architecture 10, nos. 55–56 (December 1966–January 1967), n.p. b/w ill.
Prampolini, Ida Rodriguez. "¿Qué Ha Pasado Con La Pintura?" Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas (Mexico), no. 37 (1968), no. 15 n.p. ill.
Melville, Robert. "I Know How You Must Feel, Roy." Architectural Review 143, no. 854 (April 1968), no. 3 p. 291 b/w ill.
Weber, Jürgen. Pop Art: Happenings und Neue Realisten. Munich: Heinz Moos Verlag, 1970, no. 74 p. 61 b/w ill.
Waldman, Diane. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1971, no. 25 n.p. b/w ill. (foldout).
Alloway, Lawrence. "On Style: An Examination of Roy Lichtenstein's Development." Artforum 10, no. 7 (March 1972), p. 54 b/w ill.
Coplans, John, ed. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1972, no. II n.p. color ill.
Lichtenstein, Roy, and Jean-Claude Meyer. "Les illusions optiques de Roy Lichtenstein." XXe siècle (Paris and Milan) n.s, 35, no. 41 (December 1973), p. 90 color ill.
Galerie Bischofberger, Zurich, New York, and St. Moritz. Katalog 1975. Zurich, New York, and St. Moritz: Galerie Bischofberger, 1975, p. 35 color ill.
Pierre, José. Le pop art: Dictionnaire de poche. Paris: Fernand Hazan, 1975, n.p. following p. 107 color ill.
Schaff, David. "A Conversation with Roy Lichtenstein." Art International 23, no. 9 (January–February 1980), p. 29 color ill.
Dubreuil-Blondin, Nicole. La Fonction critique dans le Pop Art américain. Montreal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1980, no. 57 n.p. b/w ill.
Jodidio, Philip (Photographs by Pascal Hinous). "Roy Lichtenstein and the Comic Process." Connaissance des arts, no. 349 (March 1981), p. 63 color ill.
Kuspit, Donald. "Uncivil War." Artforum International 21, no. 8 (April 1983), p. 40 b/w ill. (as Live Ammo).
Sandler, Irving. American Art of the 1960s. New York: Harper & Row, 1988, no. IV n.p. color ill. (as Blang).
Steiner, Wendy. "Divide and Narrate: Seurat, Warhol, and Lichtenstein." In Pictures of Romance: Form against Context in Painting and Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988, no. 39 p. 161 b/w ill. (as Blang).
Waldman, Diane. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1993. Exhibition catalogue (1993 New York Guggenheim), no. 87 n.p. following p. 97 color ill. [not exhibited].
Waldman, Diane. Roy Lichtenstein. Translated from the English by Bram Opstelten and Magda Moses. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1994. Exhibition catalogue (1993 New York Guggenheim), no. 87 n.p. following p. 97 color ill. [not exhibited].
Hendricks, Norine S. "Pop Goes the Artist: Roy Lichtenstein." Timeline (Columbus: Ohio Historical Society) 17, no. 5 (September–October 2000), p. 31 color ill.
Bader, Graham. Hall of Mirrors: Roy Lichtenstein and the Face of Painting in the 1960s. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2010, no. 3.16 p. 109 b/w ill.
Entry Updated October 19, 2023