Corlett Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints of Roy Lichtenstein

Introduction to the Corlett Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints of Roy Lichtenstein

The print and poster entries in this online catalogue follow the documentation and comments published in the authoritative book:

Mary Lee Corlett. The Prints of Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1948–1993, 2nd ed. New York: Hudson Hills Press in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2002 (Corlett 2002). First published in 1994 (Corlett 1994). Introduction by Ruth E. Fine (Fine 1994a).

Corlett documented 311 editioned prints and posters by Lichtenstein produced from 1948 through 1997, with three works published in 1998 after the artist’s death: RLCR 4622, 4755, and 4752. Along with them, Corlett documented select posters, announcements, and other printed works in unspecified editions (totaling 76 items); these were either designed by the artist or based on the artist’s designs, or reproductions approved in collaboration with the artist. Prints not documented by Corlett (RLCR 999, 1178, 3625, 3664, 4685, 357, 4195, and 3884) were added. Reproductions are no longer included in this online catalogue, only references to them per Corlett or in added commentaries.

The individual entries’ style and structure closely follow Corlett 2002 and differ slightly from all other entries in this online catalogue except for small style changes made for consistency.

All prints or poster impressions formerly or currently in the artist’s estate were re-photographed by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation for this online publication to provide the best image quality. Impressions or objects in other collections are reproduced with the best available imagery at the time of publication. Some entries are still illustrated with the images the book provided, mostly photographs of impressions in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Illustrations of woodblocks and other print matrices, as well as print variants, such as different states (RLCR 217, St. George and the Dragon (I) [Killing the Dragon]), ink color variants (RLCR 289, Hunter with Dog), paper color variants (RLCR 269, Approaching the Castle) and teaching aides (RLCR 2871, American Indian Theme I), have been added as Research Images when mentioned in the entry and/or when discovered and available.

Reproductions of the print workshop/studio chop marks—primarily embossed, inkless stamps, also called “blind stamps”—that appear on Lichtenstein’s prints, illustrated in Corlett 2002, pp. 51–52, are given in BLIND STAMPS.

The following explanations are an abbreviated version of Corlett’s chapters “About the Catalogue” and “Key to the Catalogue.” We quoted and updated the text in close consultation with the author.

Numbering

The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation has assigned an RLCR number to every artwork by the artist; Corlett’s numbers are now given as alternate numbers. Ten prints belonging to the same portfolio, RLCR 4139, La Nouvelle Chute de l'Amérique, are now linked and numbered RLCR 4139.1–10.

Corlett structured the catalogue into various sections which are reflected in her numbers:

Section I: Prints & Posters in Specified Editions (Corlett 1–311)

Section II: Leo Castelli Gallery Prints & Posters (Corlett II.1–II.8)

Section III: Prints & Posters in Unspecified Editions (Corlett III.1–III.C.53)

Selected Reproductions Appendix (Corlett App. 1–App. 14a/b) (entries are not included in this online catalogue)

Title 

Titles of prints and posters are those assigned by the artist at the time of Corlett’s publication and are either inscribed on the print or given on the documentation provided by a workshop. 

Sometimes, Lichtenstein inscribed a print with two variant titles: Corlett’s preferred title is given first, followed by the secondary title in brackets (e.g., RLCR 298 and RLCR 419); both are also recorded in the inscriptions. When they occur, alternate titles from other relevant publications and archival sources are given in the “Alternate Title” line (e.g., RLCR 1132 and RLCR 1297); if necessary, further explanation is provided in the Remarks. Whenever a print was not inscribed or documented with a title, Corlett assigned a title through discussion with the artist; these titles are shown in parentheses and justified in the Remarks of the respective records (e.g., RLCR 174). Whenever print(s) are part of a portfolio, series or book, the title of the portfolio, series or book is also provided in the “Alternate Title” line (e.g., RLCR 816.2, 1639, and 2450).

For consistency, a small group of book and magazine covers and a small selection of the artist's designs were assigned new titles by the online catalogue authors; in those cases, the Corlett 2002 titles are now given as alternate titles.

Date

The date inscribed on the print is the date given. If an edition was published in a year that differs from that inscribed on the print, the publication date is noted in parentheses following the inscribed date. Many of the prints of the 1950s have not been inscribed with a date; for these works, circa dates were assigned in consultation with the artist.

Medium and Support

Unless otherwise noted, all print medium and support information was based on impressions examined by Corlett or, in a few cases, information received from the owners. For works produced in printmaking workshops that issue documentation sheets, the medium and support given here are usually as they appear on these sheets, sometimes augmented or refined after discussion with the artist or printers. For other works, medium and support were determined as needed in consultation with the artist, the printers or the conservation department of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

When names of papers are specified in documentation for Lichtenstein’s prints (e.g., Arches Cover or Saunders Waterford), these are noted. Unless otherwise noted, paper color is white.

A note on Arjomari paper: Thirty-eight prints Lichtenstein created at Gemini G.E.L. are printed on Arjomari paper. Kenneth Tyler coined the name “Arjomari paper” for Gemini G.E.L. documentation. Tyler had custom ordered this paper from the Arjomari-Proux papermaking conglomerate—a merger of four French paper mills (Arches, Johannot, Marais, and Rives)—so that Gemini G.E.L. could exclusively offer Lichtenstein (and other artists) distinctive surfaces on which to make prints. For further information, see Amy Elizabeth Hughes’s “Wild and Immaculate: Kenneth Tyler’s Early Use of Handmade Paper at Gemini G.E.L.” in Hand Papermaking (Hughes 2019).

Dimensions

Dimensions of both sheet and image are given in inches, followed by centimeters in parenthesis. Height precedes width precedes depth. Plate dimensions are given for intaglios. When prints are mounted, mount dimensions are also provided (e.g., RLCR 1321, Landscape 1). For the prints of the 1950s, which were often printed on papers that vary greatly in size, the sheet dimensions given are those closest to a standard, followed by the term variable in parenthesis. The term irregular is used when the sheet edges are irregular enough to make accurate measurement impossible. Slight variation of sheet dimensions within an edition is inevitable. 

Inscriptions

Inscriptions are given in the order that they appear on the print, left to right, with the actual inscription (including signatures, date, etc.) indicated in brackets. For prints produced during the 1950s, all known inscription variations are given. For most later editions, the inscriptions are given for the numbered edition only, not for the various proofs. For several prints done in the 1960s (e.g., RLCR 1293), when little or no workshop documentation or publisher documentation about the edition exists, then inscription information was derived from artist’s proofs or hors commerce proofs. For works produced at Gemini G.E.L., Tyler Graphics Ltd. and Saff Tech Arts, the workshop number is inscribed on the verso of the print; these are recorded in the inscriptions section. 

Edition Size and Proofs

For unnumbered editions, edition size is given when available through publishers or printers. Corlett made every effort to verify this information. The term unknown has been used when the edition size cannot be verified. For works produced in printmaking workshops that issue documentation sheets, edition size and proofs are given as recorded on these sheets. A proof is an impression taken at any stage in the process of making a print edition. Workshop abbreviations for the various types of proofs used throughout the catalogue are:

A: archive copy

AC: artist’s copy

AP: artist’s proof

BAT: bon à tirer (French term meaning “good to pull” or “okay to print”) 

C: cancellation proof (Note: for screenprints a cancellation proof rarely exists. Instead, images are removed from the screen after the edition is printed.) After completing the edition (and the edition is signed), the artist or printer effaces or defaces (or crosses out) a characteristic element of the matrix—a block, plate, stone, Mylar or other surface—in effect "cancelling" it. An impression is then taken from this altered matrix showing that the matrix has been "cancelled," thereby ensuring that no further impression identical to those in the limited edition can be pulled.

CTP: color trial proof

GEL: archive proof reserved by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. Also see Roy Lichtenstein prints catalogued in the Gemini G.E.L. online Catalogue Raisonné, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (https://www.nga.gov/gemini/)

HC: hors commerce proof (French term meaning proof “outside the trade”)

NGA: National Gallery of Art archive proof 

PP: printer’s proof (also PPI, PPII, and PPIII)

RTP: right to print (equivalent to BAT)

SP: special proof

STA: archive proof reserved by Saff Tech Arts

TGL imp: impression reserved by Tyler Graphics Ltd., Mount Kisco, New York (closed January 2000; the largest collection of Tyler’s prints and archives is at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra)

TP: trial proof

USFP: archive proof reserved by Graphicstudio/University of South Florida

WP: working proof

All other variants are given in full, including State Proof, Presentation Proof, etc. 

Publisher

The name of the print’s publisher is provided in each entry.

Printer

The name of the printer is provided, whether the print was printed by the artist, by another individual or by a workshop. Following the Printer citation, Collaboration provides the name(s) of those involved in the print edition process. 

Runs

For works produced in printmaking workshops, process information and printing sequences are usually given as they appear on the documentation sheet, with occasional modifications made in consultation with the artist and the printers. Kenneth E. Tyler, Tyler Graphics Catalogue Raisonné, 1974–1985 (Minneapolis: Walker Art Center; New York: Abbeville Press, 1987) (Tyler 1987), gives especially detailed information regarding printing method and press types and may be consulted if further information is required. When the printing sequence is known, the runs are numbered. In all other cases, the colors are listed individually but are not numbered, and the order of the list does not necessarily conform to the printing order, although an effort to do so has been made. When given at the beginning of the Runs section, the color count reflects the actual number of different colors used. Occasionally, a single name, such as blue or black has been used in the workshop documentation to describe multiple variants of a color. When this occurs, the color count accurately accounts for each variant. 

Exhibitions

The main Exhibitions section in this online catalogue lists numerous monographic exhibitions of solely or primarily prints, in addition to exhibitions that included Lichtenstein’s prints and works in other media. Specific exhibitions are now also hyperlinked in an individual print entry’s commentary when they provide useful context. 

Literature

Published catalogues and articles citing or illustrating the artist’s prints referenced in individual entries include the selection found in Corlett 2002. Other additions were made when the authors believed them to be pertinent. For a larger selection of publications on Lichtenstein’s printed matter see the main Literature section. 

The Gemini G.E.L. and Tyler Graphics catalogue raisonné numbers refer, in the case of Gemini G.E.L., to the catalogue raisonné sheets distributed by the workshop; and in the case of Tyler Graphics Ltd., to Kenneth E. Tyler, Tyler Graphics: Catalogue Raisonné 1974–1985 (Minneapolis: Walker Art Center; New York: Abbeville Press, 1987). 

In addition to these primary sources, the exhibition catalogue by Jürgen Döring and Claus von der Osten, Roy Lichtenstein: Posters (Munich: Prestel Verlag, 2008) (Döring and Von der Osten 2008) is a resource about the artist’s posters, including those not included in this online catalogue.

Remarks

This section provides related remarks about the projects and includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of portfolios, including other contributing artists for group portfolios and information about the container as well as project history and occasional notes about the process. Updated information since 2002 and/or revisions or additions were made to relevant print entries; these were often done in consultation with Corlett. Images of related/linked works and Supplementary Content follow the Remarks.