Guide to the Catalogue

Welcome to Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné, a digital publication by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation that is available to users at no charge. It was launched on the occasion of the artist's centennial in October 2023.   

The chapters in this guide outline the scope of our catalogue raisonné project, specify research methodology and resources used, and define the organizational principles that inform the catalogue entries.

The content on these pages was created from documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation's complete or current knowledge. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



The high resolution images of Lichtenstein’s artworks in this catalogue were collected by Roy Lichtenstein Foundation staff.

Works in the artist’s Foundation and Estate were photographed over many years in an office space or in storage. Photography of artworks in all other collections was usually arranged during examination appointments at private homes, galleries, storage facilities, auction rooms and other spaces worldwide. Sometimes owners shared quality photographs they already had on file.

In 2015 new consistent standards for all remaining photography needs and image retouching were defined and implemented. Subsequently, photographs were taken anew when older image versions no longer seemed satisfactory, and whenever possible, an RLF researcher approved images on site. Professional retouchers were hired to bring their skills to the image editing process. 

As of 2023, the collected photographic material amounts to thousands of images, from Polaroids to prints taken with analog cameras, from transparencies in all formats and sizes to the latest high-end digital images. Overall, more than 300 photographers contributed images to this catalogue, but most photos are the result of work for hire by a selected group of dedicated professionals. For a continuously updated list of photographers please follow this link.

Primary Images and Supporting Images

Primary Images in catalogue entries are high resolution images that present an artwork in the state in which it was photographed. Low resolution or otherwise poor-quality photographs were only used when no other images were available.

Research Images are mostly snapshots taken by a catalogue researcher or another trusted source. They are only included when they add content by illustrating a detail or providing other information of interest. 

Photography- or scan-related flaws were removed from all images. Clips, routinely used to prop up works on paper for photography, were always edited out. Masking tape or photo corners were edited out whenever we learned of their removal post-photography and were able to consult images of the support underneath. When we were told about changes to an artwork to the effect of treated stains, erased or added marks etc., we requested new photographs. The change is documented whenever possible in the Research Image section and a caption explains the difference. 

When the edges of a work were not captured (usually because it could not be unframed for photography) we cropped within the largest opening and added the caption “Image cropped” unless cropping is negligible. If we acquired a snapshot of the full work as well, it is shown as a reference under Research Images

A catalogue entry's Archival Material may include images provided by various archives and repositories.  

Classification-Specific Notes

Paintings on multiple canvases (e.g., RLCR 1635) were edited so as to appear approximately 7 inches from one another. This decision was based on hanging instructions by the artist, known from painting versos and notes, stating that paneled works should be hung between 7 and 10 inches apart.

For all sculpture entries, the first in a group of Primary Images reflect the orientation most closely resembling that of preparatory works. The following views are organized with the work turned clockwise. For visual consistency, sculptures were ideally photographed on a gray seamless background paper, or a similar gray background was digitally laid behind the sculptures during the retouching process. Pedestals are included when part of the artwork, or if not original but essential to installation, and digitally removed otherwise. 

Catalogue entries for editioned artworks are illustrated with an image of one cast or piece in the edition. These images were chosen based on quality and availability. Snapshots of any markings are published under Research Images.  

Drawings are presented silhouetted to illustrate edge treatment (deckle, torn, cut). When drawings could not be photographed unframed, we cropped the image just inside the inner edge of the window mat or frame and included a caption indicating cropping. 

In sketchbook entries, front and back cover are illustrated in addition to pages with drawings. Research Images are added to illustrate the following: watermarks and/or paper structure (in grayscale for emphasis); loose material; stubs with traces of removed drawings; pages with marks, but no drawing; pages with cutouts; linear depressions or otherwise interesting pages. 

Aluminum frames were originally added to most of the Rowlux/plastic works as a relevant part of its visual appearance, as well as for structural integrity (e.g., RLCR 1241). We aimed to publish the works framed whenever possible. If a Rowlux work was photographed unframed, we cropped just within the outside edges of the image area to recreate the clean edge that the frame would have imposed. If a Rowlux work was photographed in a non-original frame, we cropped just within the inside edges of the frame or mat to crop it out. Snapshots and archival photos of Rowlux works in their original frames are published as Research Images where needed and on file. Rowlux works with an attached lamp are illustrated accordingly when photography could be arranged or an image was available. Research Images have been added to illustrate the effect of motorized works or of lamps emanating different colors. 

Prints were mostly re-photographed under the newly established guidelines. This online catalogue usually shows a different impression than the one published in Corlett 2002. Snapshots of variants (states, or proofs) and cancellation prints are only included when they were available and to document differences. Impressions were silhouetted around sheet edges for sheets with deckled or otherwise noticeable edges and cropped just inside the edges of the paper for clean cut sheets.