Classification: Banner (Editioned)
Between 1964 and 1970 Betsy Ross Flag and Banner Company published four banner editions designed by Lichtenstein: RLCR 940, Pistol Banner; RLCR 1265, Night Seascape Banner; RLCR 1617, Thunderbolt Banner and RLCR 1892, Modular Banner.
Banners were originally issued with aluminum bars and published in advertised editions of 20. Original bars were often lost or discarded by the time of examination.
Most banners examined are signed and numbered on the bottom turn-back or on a publisher’s label affixed to the verso bottom. While the authors made every effort to identify edition numbers for unnumbered banners, or for banners missing the publisher’s label, this was often impossible. The affected items are catalogued with sequential numbers and the prefix “unkn.”
For some banners the authors found no paper trail, only trace documentation, such as comments in oral histories or other incomplete information. These pieces are recorded separately in the Remarks. They may or may not correspond to banner entries with incomplete provenance. Banners marked with duplicate edition numbers are given additional numbers in brackets, e.g., 5/20 and 5/20.
Signatures and Inscriptions
Extensive efforts have been made to document and transcribe signatures, inscriptions and relevant marks on all banners. In cases where the signature/inscription was not accessible, or where there is only indeterminate information from research (or lack thereof), external sources have been used to provide this information. In these cases, signature and transcription information is transcribed verbatim as found, set in quotation marks, then followed by named sources in brackets.
Entries include the shorthand reference Artnet for Artnet Price Database (published through artnet.com). Other reference sources are auction catalogues, which are identified by auction house and the related sale number in brackets.
Leo Castelli Gallery Inventory Numbers
Leo Castelli Gallery’s registration system for Lichtenstein’s editioned works was not always consistent. Unique registry numbers for individual banners were solely assigned for the edition of Pistol Banner. The other three banner editions were inventoried with a single LC registry number. Pistol Banner does not have LC registry numbers assigned to all individual banners, those without an LC number were presumedly handled by other vendors.
Numbering exceptions are noted and described in the Remarks for each edition.
Publisher and Fabricators
Founded in 1963 by artist Robert Graham, Barbara Kulicke and Irvil “Sonny” Sloan, Betsy Ross Flag and Banner Company commissioned banner designs from a substantial number of artists, among them Andy Warhol, Marisol, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Tom Wesselman and Mel Ramos. In 1964, Marian Goodman joined the company (located then at 41 East 11th Street in New York).
Banners published by Betsy Ross Flag and Banner Company were fabricated at two commercial workshops: Abracrome, Inc, located at 18 East 16th Street, which specialized in creating college flags and flags for Olympic and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) events (per Marian Goodman cited in Schwarz 2021, p. 10) and the Arista Flag and Banner Company, which specialized in creating advertising banners for “RCA Victor, Union Carbide, General Telephone, etc.” (Newsweek 1965).
In 1965, the four partners of Betsy Ross Flag and Banner Company, along with Ursula Kalish, opened Multiples, Inc., at 929 Madison Avenue, which operated as a gallery and publisher of artist’s multiples. Thereafter, Lichtenstein banners published by Betsy Ross Flag and Banner Company would be sold and distributed by Multiples, Inc., in addition to those sold through Leo Castelli Gallery. In 1977, Multiples, Inc., became part of the new Marian Goodman Gallery, founded by Marian Goodman. Marian Goodman Gallery would continue to operate Multiples, Inc., in a new shared location at 38 East 57th Street. Four years later the two entities moved to 24 West 57th Street.