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.


Classification: Sketchbook (Nonextant)

Our comprehensive survey of approximately 1,900 loose drawings revealed matches between sheets previously in sketchbooks that no longer exist or are not known to us. Those drawings have been grouped for the catalogue by umbrella records, each titled sketchbook (nonextant), followed by a number and sorted in chronological order per the dates of the related drawings.

21 nonextant sketchbook records contextualize almost 200 drawings, each of which share a matching support with at least one other drawing (e.g., RLCR 1507).

An additional 18 nonextant sketchbook records are each dedicated to a single drawing undoubtedly removed from a sketchbook, but without a known matching drawing (e.g., RLCR 152). By including nonextant sketchbook records for single drawing matches, we aim at providing a comprehensive framework for the future discovery of additional sketchbook page matches.


We provide a summary of the page matches, starting with the number of drawings likely originating in the nonextant sketchbook.

Single dimensions are given without further explanation if all sheets are approximately the same size and appear untrimmed (e.g., RLCR 543). If some sheets have been trimmed, one dimension is presented as the “full sheet” dimensions (e.g., RLCR 1507, 1112). When a dimension differs slightly between sheets, we give the most frequently repeated dimension, followed by the qualifier “(approx.).” Sheets cut from bindings have various widths depending on how close they were cut to the spine. For these, the width is given as a range (e.g., RLCR 2115).

Following dimensions, we list evidence of previous binding, usually found along the spine edge (edge removed from the book), like spiral binding holes, lifted fibers from easy-tear perforations, adhesive residue from adhesive bindings and edges (usually the left long edge) cut irregularly by hand. It was easiest to identify spiral bindings by their spiral ring holes, but we also found pages from adhesive bindings and likely from case bindings or those of similar style (which we identify simply as “bound”). The structure of the paper—laid or wove—is identified and the texture and color are given, as defined by paper samples published by Lunning and Perkinson 1996. When sheet descriptions from researchers vary, we trust the most frequently repeated characteristics. We used the Lunning and Perkinson descriptors whenever possible.

The edge finish of the leaves is recorded. Most edges have been cut.

If a watermark is present, the text is transcribed. The frequency of occurrence of watermarks is also described (e.g., in multiple locations per sheet). We state if there are no watermarks.

Paper thickness was measured with a Lithco Pocket Gauge. When paper thickness measurements vary, but are close, the most frequently repeated thickness is given, followed by “(approx.).” When paper thickness measurements vary significantly, a range is given.

If sheets were trimmed, but match the full sheet in at least one dimension (height or width), the RLCR number or number of drawings trimmed is given (e.g., RLCR 2045). If sheets were trimmed and neither dimension matches the full sheet, we indicate they were “trimmed significantly” and state the RLCR number or number of sheets, followed by the reason we believe the sheet(s) to be matching (e.g., RLCR 2046). 

The orientation of the drawings is defined in relation to the untrimmed sheet and is stated in cases when trimming affects orientation.

Content is briefly summarized.

Research Images that expand on paper qualities were sometimes included (e.g., RLCR 379).

We do not summarize signatures or marks on the drawings or media of the drawings in the nonextant sketchbook records.