Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
68 x 56 in. (172.7 x 142.2 cm)
Signed and dated verso, upper left: 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

RLCR 709 (LC 67; RL 0101)
Live Ammo (Tzing!)
Title Source
Alternate titles and sources: Live Ammo (Last 2 Panels) (RL Register); Live Ammo (Tzing!) Panel 3 of 4 (RLF); Live Ammo/Panel 3 – Tzing! (RL Register)
Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
68 x 56 in. (172.7 x 142.2 cm)
Signed and dated verso, upper left: rf Lichtenstein / '62
By artist verso, upper left: PANEL 4 OF 5

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!).

Jack W. and Constance Glenn, Kansas City, Mo., c. 1964–65 (via Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City; via Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles)
Peter Brant, New York, June 1969
Karl Ströher, Darmstadt, Germany, July 1969 (via Galerie Bischofsberger, Zurich) [Karl Ströher Collection, 1977]
Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York City, 1984 (via Poliarco S.A.)
(Sotheby's, New York, May 5, 1986, sale 5452, lot 30 as Tzing!)
Marisa del Re Gallery, New York City
Collection of Loretta and Robert K. Lifton, c. September 1989 (via Knickerbocker Fine Arts, New York)
Waddington Galleries, London, by 1994
The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, March 1998 (via James Goodman Gallery, New York City)
Arts Council of the YM/YWHA, Philadelphia, Art 1963: A New Vocabulary, October 24–November 7, 1962 (Kandell 1962).
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).
Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, Group Exhibition, December 29, 1963–January 3, 1964.
Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, New York, New York, June 29–July 25, 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).
Neue Pinakothek, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Sammlung 1968 Karl Ströher, June 14–August 9, 1968 (only Bern?; not in cat.) (Friedrich and Dahlem 1968b). Traveled to: Kunstverein, Hamburg, Germany, August 24–October 6, 1968 (Friedrich and Dahlem 1968a); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, March 1–April 14, 1969 (Möller 1969); Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, Germany, April 25–June 8, 1969 (Möller 1969); Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland, part 1: July 12, 1969–August 17, 1969; part 2: August 23–September 28, 1969 (abridged) (Kunsthalle Bern 1969).
Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany, Extended Loan, August 28, 1969–February 28, 1981.
Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany, Bildnerische Ausdrucksformen, 1960–1970: Sammlung Karl Ströher im Hessischen Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, April 24–June 16, 1970 (Bott and Adriani 1970, n.p. facing p. 208 color ill. [as Tzing!]).
Nationalgalerie, Berlin, New York in Europa, September 4–November 7, 1976 (only Berlin) (Honisch and Jensen, J. 1976, no. 46 n.p. b/w ill.). Traveled to: Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany, November 7–December 30, 1976 (as Amerikanische Druckgrafik aus öffentlichen Sammlungen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland; revised with a selection of prints only).
Acquavella Galleries, New York, XIX & XX Century Master Paintings, May 17–June 18, 1983 (Acquavella Galleries 1983, no. 22 n.p. facing p. 46 color ill.).
Salander O'Reilly Galleries, New York, Barnard Collects: The Educated Eye, September 28–October 31, 1989 (Barnard College and Salander-O'Reilly 1989, no. 21 color ill. [as Tzing, Bwee]).
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Revolution: Art of the Sixties from Warhol to Beuys, September 30–December 10, 1995 (Minami 1995, no. 99 p. 193 color ill.).
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Switzerland, Roy Lichtenstein, May 24–September 27, 1998 (Beyeler [Fondation] 1998, no. 9 p. 40 color ill.).
Louisiana Museum of Art, Humlebaek, Denmark, Roy Lichtenstein: All about Art, August 22, 2003–January 18, 2004 (only San Francisco) (Holm, Tøjner, and Caiger-Smith 2003a). 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. 10a. n.p. 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. 10a. n.p. color ill.).
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Pop! From San Francisco Collections, March 6–September 19, 2004.
Melville, Robert. "I Know How You Must Feel, Roy." Architectural Review 143, no. 854 (April 1968), p. 291 b/w ill.
Lipman, Jean and the editors of Art in America, New York. The Collector in America. New York: A Studio Book, Viking Press, 1970, n.p. facing p. 226 color ill. (in collectors' home).
Tuchman, Phyllis. "American Art in Germany: The History of a Phenomenon." Artforum 9, no. 3 (November 1970), p. 63 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. 55 b/w ill.
Interessengemeinschaft Berliner Kunsthändler, IBK, ed. "Amerikanische Kunst in Berlin." Berliner Kunstblatt 2, no. 13 (September 1976), p. 5 b/w ill. (installation view, 1976 Berlin Nationalgalerie).
Pohl, Erika, Ursula Ströher, and Gerhard Pohl, eds. Karl Ströher: Sammler und Sammlung. Stuttgart: Dr. Cantz’sche Druckerei, 1982, no. 319 p. 145 color ill.
Waldman, Diane. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1993. Exhibition catalogue (1993 New York Guggenheim), no. 88 n.p. 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. 88 n.p. color ill. [not exhibited].
Neff, Terry Ann R., ed. The Fisher Collection. San Francisco: Doris and Donald Fisher, 2007, p. 46 color ill. (vol. 2).
Seligson, Joelle. "Setting Up CAMP." Museum (Washington, D.C.) 87, no. 1 (January–February 2008), p. 33 color ill.
Reference Material
SRC 20463
Our Fighting Forces
July 1962
Panel: 2 15/16 x 2 3/8 in. (7.5 x 6 cm)

Kanigher, Robert (editor). Our Fighting Forces 69 (July 1962), National Periodical Publications, Inc. (DC).  

Entry Updated October 13, 2023