Acrylic, oil, graphite pencil on canvas
70 3/16 x 54 1/8 in. (178.2 x 137.4 cm)
Signed and dated verso, upper left: rf Lichtenstein / '78
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: Self-Portrait, 1978 (RLCR 2765)
RLCR 2765 (LC 813; RL 0746)
Title Source
RL Studio Card; RL Studio Photograph
Alternate title and source: Self-Portrait (Mirror) (Castelli)
Acrylic, oil, graphite pencil on canvas
70 3/16 x 54 1/8 in. (178.2 x 137.4 cm)
Signed and dated verso, upper left: rf Lichtenstein / '78
Stretcher: RL# 813
Related Works
Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Private collection, November 2011
Leo Castelli Gallery (420 West Broadway), New York, Roy Lichtenstein: Recent Paintings, April 28–May 19, 1979.
Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York, As We See Ourselves: Artists' Self-Portraits, June 22–August 5, 1979 (Lochridge 1979, p. 37 b/w ill.).
Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Roy Lichtenstein 1970–1980, May 8–June 28, 1981 (not Fort Worth) (Cowart 1981b, p. 120 color ill.). Traveled to: Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, July 16–September 6, 1981; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, September 22–November 29, 1981; Fort Worth Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, December 16, 1981–February 7, 1982; Josef-Haubrich-Kunsthalle, Cologne, March 10–April 25, 1982 (with an additional exhibit on the Kunsthalle's lower floor showing Lichtenstein artworks from the Ludwig Collection) (Cowart 1982a, no. 111 p. 120 color ill.); Orsanmichele, Florence, Italy, May–August 1982 (Cowart 1982b, p. 102 color ill.); Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, September 21–December 19, 1982 (Cowart 1982b, p. 102 color ill.); Fundación Juan March, Madrid, January 14–March 20, 1983 (Cowart 1982b, p. 102 color ill.); Ohara Museum of Art, Chuo Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, April 26–May 22, 1983 (Cowart 1982b, p. 102 color ill.); Seibu Museum of Art, Seibu Takanawa, Tokyo, June 1–July 13, 1983 (Cowart 1983, p. 116 color ill.).
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, October 7, 1993–January 16, 1994 (not Columbus?) (Waldman 1993b, no. 187 n.p. facing p. 243 color ill.; n.p. color ill. [detail]). 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. 187 n.p. facing p. 243 color ill, n.p. color ill. [detail]); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany, February 8–April 30, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 187 n.p. facing p. 243 color ill, n.p. color ill. [detail]); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, June 2–September 3, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 187 n.p. facing p. 243 color ill, n.p. color ill. [detail]); Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, September 21, 1995–January 7, 1996 (abridged version) (Waldman 1994, no. 187 n.p. facing p. 243 color ill, n.p. color ill. [detail]).
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Switzerland, Roy Lichtenstein, May 24–September 27, 1998 (Beyeler [Fondation] 1998, no. 49 p. 80 color ill.).
Chiostro del Bramante, Rome, Roy Lichtenstein, Riflessi/Reflections, December 20, 1999–April 2, 2000 (Waldman 1999, no. 17 p. 73 color ill, front cover color ill.). Traveled to: Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milan, April 20–June 25, 2000; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany, September 16, 2000–January 21, 2001 (as Roy Lichtenstein: Spiegelbilder, 1963–1997) (Waldman 2000a, n.p. color ill.).
Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, Germany, Big Nothing: Höhere Wesen, der blinde Fleck und das Erhabene in der zeitgenössischen Kunst, January 27–March 18, 2001 (Bilstein and Winzen 2001, p. 224 color ill.).
Louisiana Museum of Art, Humlebaek, Denmark, Roy Lichtenstein: All about Art, August 22, 2003–January 18, 2004 (Holm, Tøjner, and Caiger-Smith 2003a, no. 44 n.p. color ill.). 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. 44 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. 44 n.p. color ill.).
Mitchell-Innes & Nash (534 West 26th Street), New York, Roy Lichtenstein: Conversations with Surrealism, October 7–November 12, 2005 (Mitchell-Innes & Nash 2005, no. 48 color ill.).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images, November 19, 2006–March 4, 2007 (Barron and Draguet 2006, p. 222 color ill.).
Triennale di Milano, Milan, Roy Lichtenstein: Meditations on Art, January 26–May 30, 2010 (Mercurio 2010c, n.p. color ill.); (Mercurio 2010d, n.p. color ill.). Traveled to: Museum Ludwig, Cologne, July 2–October 17, 2010 (as Roy Lichtenstein: Kunst als Motiv) (Mercurio 2010a, n.p. color ill.).
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, May 16–September 3, 2012 (only Washington, D.C, London) (Rondeau and Wagstaff, Sheena 2012, no. 101 n.p. color ill.). Traveled to: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., October 14, 2012–January 13, 2013; Tate Modern, London, February 21–May 27, 2013 (as Lichtenstein: A Retrospective) (Dunne 2012); Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris, July 3–November 4, 2013 (as Roy Lichtenstein, revised and reorganized) (Dunne 2013); (Pompidou 2013); (Morineau 2013a, n.p. facing p. 105 color ill. [detail]).
"Roy Lichtenstein." BT: Bijutsu techō (Tokyo) 6 (September 1979), p. 173 b/w ill.
Danoff, I. Michael. "Paintings That Make Your Retinas Dance: Roy Lichtenstein's Art." ARTnews 80, no. 9 (November 1981), p. 122 color ill.
Levin, Kim. "Second-Hand Roy." Village Voice (New York), October 7–13, 1981, p. 92 b/w ill. (installation view, 1981 St. Louis Art Museum, at Whitney Museum venue).
De Mèredieu, Florence. "Roy Lichtenstein: Une rhétorique de la figure." Art Press, no. 63 (October 1982), front cover color ill. (with photograph of the artist).
Alloway, Lawrence. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Abbeville Press, 1983, no. 90 p. 90 b/w ill.
Hendrickson, Janis. Roy Lichtenstein. Cologne: Benedikt Taschen, 1988, p. 78 b/w ill.
Osterwold, Tilman. Pop Art. Cologne: Benedikt Taschen, 1989, p. 53 b/w ill.
Ríos, Julián. "Picasso, pintor y modelo (reflexiones sobre ‘Reflexiones sobre el pintor y su modelo' de Roy Lichtenstein)." El paseante (Madrid), nos. 18–19 (1991), p. 32 color ill.
Hindry, Ann, ed. Artstudio. Special issue, Roy Lichtenstein, no. 20 (Spring 1991), p. 93 b/w ill.
Contemporary Great Masters: Roy Lichtenstein. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd., 1992, no. 41 n.p. color ill.
Vernissage Köln. Special issue, Roy Lichtenstein in München, no. 9 (September 1994), p. 6 color ill.
Buchloh, Benjamin H.D. "Residual Resemblance: Three Notes on the Ends of Portraiture." In Face–Off: The Portrait in Recent Art, by Melissa E. Feldman. Philadelphia, PA: Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, 1994. Exhibition catalogue, p. 65 ill.
Lichtenstein, Roy, and Robert Enright. "Pop Goes the Tradition: An Interview with Roy Lichtenstein." Border Crossings (Winnipeg, Manitoba) 13, no. 3 (August 1994), front cover color ill.
Waldman, Diane. "Lichtenstein a Roma: Sogni allo Specchio." Translated from the English by Giorgio Bizzi. Art e Dossier (Milan), no. 152 (January 2000), p. 9 color ill.
Lobel, Michael. Image Duplicator: Roy Lichtenstein and the Emergence of Pop Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002, no. 40 n.p. facing p. 70 color ill.
Louisiana revy (Humlebaek, Denmark). Special issue, Roy Lichtenstein 44, no. 1 (August 2003), no. 44 n.p. color ill.
Salus, Carol. "The Self-Portraits of Roy Lichtenstein: Some Reflections and Re-Definitions." International Journal of the Arts in Society (Melbourne) 2, no. 4 (2008), p. 96 b/w ill.
Leo Castelli, New York. Roy Lichtenstein: Mostly Men. New York: Leo Castelli, 2010. Exhibition catalogue (2010 New York Castelli), n.p. facing p. 12 color ill. [not exhibited].
Gagosian Gallery, New York. Roy Lichtenstein: Still Lifes. New York: Gagosian Gallery, 2010. Exhibition catalogue (2010 New York Gagosian), fig. 6 p. 69 color ill. [not exhibited].
Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. Roy Lichtenstein Reflected. New York: Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 2010. Exhibition catalogue (2010 New York Mitchell-Innes & Nash), n.p. facing p. 46 color ill. [not exhibited].
Bader, Graham. Hall of Mirrors: Roy Lichtenstein and the Face of Painting in the 1960s. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2010, no. 4.21 p. 177 b/w ill.
Pommereau, Claude, ed. Roy Lichtenstein au Centre Pompidou. Issy-les-Moulineaux, France: Beaux Arts Éditions, 2013, n.p. facing p. 13 color ill.
Mercurio, Gianni, ed. Roy Lichtenstein: Multiple Visions. Milan: 24 Ore Cultura, 2019. Exhibition catalogue (2019 Milan MUDEC), p. 21 color ill. [not exhibited].
Mercurio, Gianni, ed. Roy Lichtenstein: Multiple Visions. Milan: 24 ORE Cultura, 2020. Exhibition catalogue (2019 Milan MUDEC), p. 21 color ill. [not exhibited].
Entry Updated October 27, 2023