Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
70 3/16 x 48 1/4 in. (178.2 x 122.5 cm)
Neither signed nor dated
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: Black Flowers, 1961 (RLCR 624)
RLCR 624 (LC 9; RL 0709)
Black Flowers
Title Source
Castelli; RL Studio Card
Alternate title and source: Flowers (Black) (RL Register)
Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
70 3/16 x 48 1/4 in. (178.2 x 122.5 cm)
Neither signed nor dated
Stretcher: # 9 [twice]
Still life
Research Images
Black Flowers, 1961 (RLCR 624). Detail
Related Works
Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Netsch, Chicago, December 1961 (via Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City)
Mr. and Mrs. S.I. Newhouse, Jr., New York City, c. July 1987 (likely via Gagosian Gallery, New York City)
{Sotheby's, New York, May 4, 1994, sale 6291, lot 30}
Private collection
The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection (The Broad), June 2004. B-LICH-2P04.05 (via Giraud.Pissaro.Segalot, New York City)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Six Painters and the Object, March 14–June 12, 1963 (not New York; not in cat.) (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).
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California, Roy Lichtenstein, April 18–May 28, 1967 (Coplans 1967a, no. 2 p. 22 b/w ill.). 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. 3 b/w ill. [pink]). Traveled to: Tate Gallery, London, January 6–February 4, 1968 (Tate 1968b, no. 3 p. 8 b/w ill.); Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland, February 23–March 31, 1968 (Kunsthalle Bern 1968, no. 2 b/w ill.); (Tate 1968a, no. 2 p. 8 b/w ill.); Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany, April 13–May 19, 1968 (Kestner-Gesellschaft 1968, no. 2 p. 58 b/w ill.).
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Roy Lichtenstein, September 19–November 9, 1969 (only New York, Kansas City) (Waldman 1969, no. 1 p. 22 b/w ill.). Traveled to: William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, Kansas City, Missouri, December 18, 1969–January 16, 1970; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, February 7–March 22, 1970; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, April 10–May 17, 1970; Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio, July 9–August 30, 1970.
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Emergence and Progression: Six Contemporary American Artists, October 11–December 2, 1979 (Danoff 1979, p. 45 b/w ill. [dimensions erroneously given as 78 x 48 in.]). Traveled to: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia, January 16–March 2, 1980; J. B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, April 1–June 29, 1980; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, July 25–September 14, 1980.
Haus der Kunst, Munich, Amerikanische Malerei 1930–1980, November 14, 1981–January 31, 1982 (Armstrong, T. and Growe 1981, no. 130 p. 128 b/w ill.).
Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, Ohio, Living with Art, Two: The Collection of Walter and Dawn Clark Netsch, September 10–December 16, 1983 (Miami University Art Museum 1983, no. 27 p. 31 b/w ill.). Traveled to: Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, January 22–March 25, 1984.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Pop Art 1955–70, February 27–April 14, 1985 (Geldzahler 1985, p. 61 b/w ill.). Traveled to: Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia, April 30–June 2, 1985; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, June 25–August 11, 1985.
Gagosian Gallery (980 Madison Avenue), New York, Summer: Important Abstract Expressionist and Pop Paintings, June 20–August 31, 1990.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, October 7, 1993–January 16, 1994 (only New York) (Waldman 1993b, no. 25 n.p. following p. 25 b/w 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. 25 n.p. following p. 25 b/w ill.); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany, February 8–April 30, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 25 n.p. following p. 25 b/w ill.); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, June 2–September 3, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 25 n.p. following p. 25 b/w ill.); Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, September 21, 1995–January 7, 1996 (abridged version) (Waldman 1994, no. 25 n.p. following p. 25 b/w ill.).
Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria, Roy Lichtenstein: Classic of the New, June 12–September 4, 2005 (Schneider, E. 2005b, n.p. facing p. 28 b/w ill.); (Schneider, E. 2005c, n.p. facing p. 28 b/w ill.).
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. 21 p. 10 b/w ill.
Rosenblum, Robert. "Roy Lichtenstein and the 'Realist' Revolt/La rivolta 'realista' americana: Lichtenstein." Metro (Milan), no. 8 (May 1963), no. 10 p. 44 b/w ill.
Waldman, Diane. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1971, no. 14 n.p. b/w ill.
Alloway, Lawrence. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Abbeville Press, 1983, no. 75 p. 77 b/w ill.
Sydney, Clare. Flower Painting. New York: Rizzoli, 1986, no. 9 n.p. facing p. 15 b/w ill.
Busche, Ernst A. Roy Lichtenstein: Das Frühwerk, 1942–1960. Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1988, fig. 140 p. 236 b/w ill.
Busche, Ernst A. Roy Lichtenstein: Pop-Paintings, 1961–1969. Schirmer's visuelle Bibliothek 6. Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1989, no. 7 n.p. b/w ill.
Waldman, Diane. Roy Lichtenstein. Rizzoli Art Series. New York: Rizzoli, 1993, no. 2 b/w ill.
Gagosian Gallery, New York. Roy Lichtenstein: Early Black and White Paintings. New York: Gagosian Gallery, 2001. Exhibition catalogue (2001b New York Gagosian), p. 12 b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Gagosian Gallery, New York. Roy Lichtenstein: Still Lifes. New York: Gagosian Gallery, 2010. Exhibition catalogue (2010 New York Gagosian), fig. 3 p. 11 b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Lévy Gorvy, London. Source and Stimulus: Polke, Lichtenstein, Laing. London: Lévy Gorvy, 2018. Exhibition catalogue (2018 London Lévy), no. 2 p. 10 b/w ill. [not exhibited].
Entry Updated September 13, 2023