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.



Provenance entries detail a work’s known history of ownership in chronological order and through at least the year 2009, reflecting twenty years of research by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation team. Most entries provide transactions up to the year 2023, including all works formerly in the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Collection and the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein as well as purchasers of works at post-2009 auctions where their ownership was confirmed. Every effort has been made to provide a complete chain of ownership. Whenever provenance research is ongoing, an entry is marked "Research pending."

An owner is defined as a person, institution, auction house, gallery or private dealer that acquired a work. Entries give an owner’s or agent’s residential city, state and country at the time of the purchase, when known, as well as the month and year when the work was acquired. 

Widely known cities like Los Angeles or Berlin are generally listed without a state or country unless an owner requested a different credit line style. “New York City” distinguishes residence in the city versus in the state of New York.

Acquisition dates (month, year) are provided when evidence such as a dated invoice, letter, or consignment papers were available. Otherwise, only the year, or the approximate time within a year, are given. In cases where evidence was unavailable, provenance entries give the earliest known date by which ownership could be established. Sometimes no date could be determined; transactions for such owners are listed without a date.

When a work was sold during or around the time of an exhibition in which it was included, and we do not know the precise date of the sale, the exhibition end date is used as the sale date, adding “c.” 

In the case of conflicting sale dates, the dates submitted by an owner override their agent’s dates.

Owners and Agents 

Every owner is given a separate line except for works jointly acquired by multiple owners:

Galerie Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland, and James Goodman Gallery, New York City

When a sale was facilitated by an agent (usually a gallery or dealer), that agent is listed with the descriptor “via” in parentheses after the purchaser: 

Private collection, New York City, December 1970 (via Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City)

When more than one agent handled the work before a sale, these agents are listed in chronological order, separated by a semicolon: 

Private collection, Los Angeles, February 1968 (via Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City; via Holly Solomon Gallery, New York City)

In cases where dealers worked on a sale together, they are listed interlinked by “and”:  

Private collection, 1986 (via James Goodman, New York City, and Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago/New York City)

Agents of transfer are listed on separate lines only if they purchased a work and did not sell it within a year or so. 

In all cases where the artist gifted, donated, exchanged or sold a work directly it is indicated in parentheses following the owner credit: 

Trisha Brown Dance Company, New York City, 1995 (artist donation)

Ownership information has been obtained directly from the owners whenever possible. Exceptions include entries where an owner could not be located or was repeatedly contacted to no avail. In such cases, alternative sources substantiate the entry. These sources may include invoices, loan forms, exhibition catalogues, auction catalogues, gallery records, museum files and other material provided by past and current owners or dealers. Depending on the findings, comments about the lack of information, confusing data, etc., are added in square brackets after an owner. 

An invaluable source of provenance information are the detailed records of Leo Castelli Gallery. The authors accessed the public records at the Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C., and Barbara Bertozzi Castelli kindly granted access to additional gallery files.

Types of Transactions

Transactions other than regular sales are indicated when known. Examples are: 

by bequest 
Works given or left by will as indicated by an owner

by descent
As provided by owner or cited when no other documentation of transfer within a family was available

by gift
Works given by owners to individual owners

by donation
Donations benefiting a cause or an institution. Credit lines of institutions may say "gift of" instead. 

in exchange for
Works that are acquired through direct trade of artworks or services; in museum credit lines, exchange usually indicates that a work was purchased with funds from the sale of previously donated work(s)

by merger

by transfer

by trust

by commission

in lieu of royalties

A transfer comment is not added when an owner’s work became the property of their estate or a trust. 

Change of hands within the extended Lichtenstein family has at times been difficult to define. Works originally owned by the artist’s mother Beatrice are usually listed as "Collection Mr. and Mrs. Dolph Bernardi, New York City" (the artist’s father Milton Lichtenstein died in 1946, Beatrice remarried in 1952). Gifts from Beatrice to Lichtenstein’s sister Renée were common, as were gifts to other members of the family, but they are only reflected in a provenance when documented. Renée is always listed with her married name Tolcott. Lichtenstein’s first wife kept her maiden name when they married and is therefore listed as Isabel Wilson. 

About Credit Lines

Private collectors are identified if they have granted permission, in which case we use their preferred credit line, followed by the month and year of purchase, when known. When the name of a deceased owner has been published before, it is usually listed. If owners have not granted permission, or have asked to remain anonymous, “Private collection” is used, at times followed by a location. 

Galleries, auction houses, museums and other public institutions are cited fully according to their chosen credit line or the names found in archival material from the time of the sale. Acquisition date is followed by accession number, when known:

The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, Gift of Philip Johnson, November 1981. 421.1981

When a collection name changed but the owner remained the same, when an institution modified its name or when joint ownership changed to single ownership due to, for example, a joint owner’s passing or a divorce, the new credit line is added in square brackets following the original name:   

Hyman Silverman and Margaret Chalfin, Cleveland, Ohio [Margaret Chalfin, 1960s]

As naming customs for married couples have evolved since the mid century, the authors have expanded names to include the first name of both husband and wife. For example, rather than “Mr. and Mrs. Horace Solomon” we write:

Horace and Holly Solomon, New York City, by October 1968 (via Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City)

In other instances, credit lines drawn from historic sources are kept to reflect previous preferences by owners:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Rowan, Pasadena, Calif., January 1965 (via Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City)


Leo Castelli was Lichtenstein’s primary dealer beginning in 1961, with most of the artist’s unique artworks first sold through his gallery. Its official name was “Leo Castelli” (reflected in labels, invoices, etc.); in this catalogue, we list the gallery with its commonly used name “Leo Castelli Gallery.” Post-1999 entries list the gallery’s new name, Castelli Gallery, established by its owner Barbara Bertozzi Castelli. 

Leo Castelli maintained partnerships with various galleries, such as Ileana Sonnabend (Paris, New York), Ferus Gallery (Irving Blum, Los Angeles), Galerie Beyeler (Basel), Richard Gray (New York, Chicago) and Joe Helman (St. Louis, New York). Often it was impossible to precisely document their sales arrangement. In these instances, the authors relied on emails or verbal information provided by the dealers or their legacy staff. 

Every attempt has been made to identify the name of a gallery at the time of a sale or consignment. When this was impossible, the present name is used. 

Consignments can be difficult to substantiate, especially in the absence of a sale. In this catalogue, confirmed consignments to galleries are cited in curly brackets, along with start and end date, where available.

{Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City, November 1961–March 1962}

When a work was sold at the end of a consignment, consignment details are omitted, and the transaction is listed as a sale only. Consignments arranged solely for, or in conjunction with, exhibitions are not listed. 

Auction Sales

Auction sales are cited with the name of the auction house, city, sale date, sale and lot number, in that order. Reference to printed or online catalogues is omitted with the rare exception of individual artwork catalogues. The auction date is considered the date of acquisition by the new owner. 

Parentheses ( ) indicate completed sales:

(Christie's, London, June 25, 2013, sale 1134, lot 22)

Curly brackets { } indicate that a work did not sell, including when an auction lot was passed or was bought in:

{Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, May 18, 1978, sale 4126, lot 219}

Works withdrawn from a sale are indicated when known. Auction titles naming a collector or estate are included. Artwork titles differing from primary or alternate titles are added: 

(Phillips de Pury & Company, New York, May 13, 2010, sale NY010110, lot 137 as Untitled)

Private sales or post-auction sales are indicated after the purchaser’s name: 

Private collection, New York, c. 2012 (via Christie's private sale, New York)

Sotheby’s became an owner of Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, in 1964; unless we found a precise naming for Sotheby’s or Parke-Bernet in a catalogue or other source, we list New York sales from 1964 to 1983 as Sotheby Parke-Bernet.

Every attempt has been made to contact owners and confirm auction transactions, either directly or through mediation by auction houses. In the absence of successful contact, owners are cited as “Owner unknown.” 

Unknown and Unlocated Owners of Works 

Every effort has been made to complete every provenance chain and identify and contact owners to confirm purchases and sales. When research did not lead to results, it is indicated in the following way:

An ellipsis in parentheses (…) stands for an unknown number of owners in a provenance chain. Any provenance that consists of just an ellipsis indicates no ownership information was available. At times, this might be because the artist destroyed an early work, gifted or sold it without leaving a paper trail. The earliest known documentation of such a work is mentioned in the Remarks when no published source is known. Examples of documentation are Lichtenstein’s Master’s Thesis or photographs in the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Archives (RLF Archives).  

Owner unknown 
Cited when we know that a work was sold to or is assumed to be in a private collection, but we were not able to identify the owner. 

[Owner not located]
Added to a name when an owner’s identity is known to us, but we were not able to locate him or her or did not receive a response to our inquiries. Artworks in the possession of unlocated owners may or may not have been examined by us depending on whether we were given access by previous owners. 

Clarifying information about our research or the lack of available documentation is included selectively, in brackets following the owner credit line:

Private collection [per MMT royalty report dated January 26, 1984 (RLF Archives); owner not located]

Provenances of Editioned Works 

In this catalogue, provenance is recorded for all unique works and for editions with 12 or fewer pieces. In addition, we provide provenance information for a small number of larger editions of the 1960s to clarify ownership histories for this lesser-known work (e.g. enamels and banners). Provenance history of all tapestries is also given.

For editioned works, the first owner is usually followed by the publisher as the original selling agent:

Martin Flug, New York City, c. June 1971 (via Multiples, Inc., New York City)