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.


Media and Support

Media and support(s) are indicated to the best of the authors' knowledge based on examination reports and photographs by catalogue researchers or a trusted source, e.g., collection registrars or conservators. No technical analysis was made.   

Media lines include all visible mediums and supports. For two-dimensional works, only materials visible from the recto are given; for three-dimensional works, only materials visible from the top and sides (i.e., not the underside).  

Media are listed in order from most to least predominant. An exception are collages, for which materials are listed in a set order due to their complicated structures. For further information see: 4.3. COLLAGE

Colors of media are not described.

Brand names are not used except for materials like "Denril," which Lichtenstein's studio assistants confirm was used with consistency, or "Rowlux," which features unique and easily recognizable properties and patterns. Notably, in this catalogue the term "Magna," long-associated with the artist's legacy, is replaced by "acrylic." For further information see: 4.7. PAINTING

At times, additional information is given to further describe media: 

- when medium of signatures or marks differ from artwork media
- for noticeable or unusual techniques or supports
- when "found objects" are used as media
- for stray media
- for Rowlux/plastic works: the maker of the original frame
- for Rowlux/plastic works with lamps: the description of the lamp
- description of elements that seem to be lost or missing 

For works with limited or no media documentation, media lines are based on material from the RLF Archives, on information from artwork labels, publications or other sources, and on the knowledge of the artist's methods. For works with very limited documentation, media lines are transcribed from an available source verbatim. Sources are referenced in Remarks.

Where examination and/or available documentation was insufficient to fully determine media, it is listed with a question mark. Very limited documentation is indicated by a question mark at the end of the media line or by the fact that more than one possible medium is given. Question marks are not included in paintings' media lines. 

Media lines transcribed from other sources reflect these sources' style and terminology. Where details were added by the authors, those appear in brackets. 

Two-Dimensional Works 

Media lines for two-dimensional works follow the style "[Medium(s)] on [support]." For collages and other works with complicated structures, this style is also used even though some overlapping elements may technically be attached to other elements instead of the support. Entries of Rowlux/plastic works present all media in list format.

Three-Dimensional Works 

Depending on material, media lines for three-dimensional works are listed in different styles:  

"[Adjective] [support]"
Example: Patinated bronze (used for most three-dimensional works)

"[Medium(s)] on [support]"
Example: Painted paper on foamcore (primarily used for foamcore maquettes) 

List format
Example: Wood, paint, metal (primarily used for sculpture made with found material, usually accompanied by further explanation; or as needed so that the media line reflects the correct order of emphasis)

Supports and Attachments

Secondary supports are included at the end of the media line, e.g., original mounts and frames or hardware such as pins on foamcore sculpture. 

Methods of attachment are not included, e.g., double-sided pressure-sensitive film in collages or soldering in sculptures, as those are usually not discernable from visual examination alone. Attachment is implied.


Terminology for works on paper (drawing, collage, etc.) typically follows the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Descriptive Terminology for Works of Art on Paper (Ash, Nancy, Scott Homolka, and Stephanie Lussier 2014).

For most other unique works, terminology is decided per the authors' best judgment, informed by studio and RLF records and correspondence with the artist's studio assistants.

For editioned works and works executed outside the artist's studio by a fabricator, terminology follows fabrication documents.