The Roy Lichtenstein Catalogue Raisonné

“Roy on Ladder, 1991” – Photograph © Laurie Lambrecht, 1991

“Roy on Ladder, 1991” – Photograph © Laurie Lambrecht, 1991

Artist:  Roy Lichtenstein (1923 – 1997)
Planned Title: Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné
Scope: The catalogue will illustrate every confirmed work and publish all known paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, commissions and other artwork by Roy Lichtenstein. The artist produced approximately 5,000 works during his lifetime (not counting the full edition runs of prints or multiples).
Years Covered:  The earliest works date from c. 1940 and the latest, 1997, plus a limited number of posthumous sculpture casts and prints.
Print or Digital:  We are planning to publish first an online catalogue version. When persuasively complete, we expect to issue a summary of our research in book form, distributed by a major University Press.
Database:  The Museum System (TMS) until 2011; panOpticon since then.
Schedule:  A first digital version is planned to be online in 2017.
Publisher: To be defined
Organized by:  The catalogue is organized and managed by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Jack Cowart (Executive Director), Andrea C. Theil (Project Manager).

CRSA:  What are some of the Roy Lichtenstein Catalogue Raisonné’s primary resources?
RLCR:  Since its beginning in 1999, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation has been systematically sorting through the extensive artist studio records. Lichtenstein and his studio staff photographed most of his artworks in the studio, and they accumulated contemporary documentation about his art, commissions, editions, and exhibitions. The material includes correspondence, exhibition files, catalogues, source books, studio and installation photographs as well as films, video, audio tapes and other materials related to the creation and production of Lichtenstein’s art. Of major importance are also the artwork and documentation held by the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein. When it comes to technical questions we are continuously benefiting from the experience of Lichtenstein’s longtime studio assistants.

Provenance research usually starts with looking through the comprehensive Leo Castelli Gallery records at the Archives of American Art which cover the long relationship between the artist and his lifetime gallerist. We also refer to the oral histories conducted over the past decade by Avis Berman on behalf of the Foundation. She interviewed (and still interviews) family members, friends, and studio staff as well as people who were involved directly or indirectly in Lichtenstein’s creative life. Our research is enriched by the detailed memories and deep knowledge of Lichtenstein’s art offered by his widow Dorothy Lichtenstein.

CRSA:  What specific challenges do you face in preparing the RL Catalogue Raisonné?
RLCR:  One of our challenges is the attempt to create a complex online reference tool which covers numerous aspects of Lichtenstein’s work – sometimes it is rather difficult to establish a clear and integrated architecture. But with the help of our panOpticon database we are making great progress.

CRSA: Will the existing RL Catalogue Raisonné of Prints be included in your online CR version? 
RLCR:  Yes, it will. Lichtenstein was a prolific print maker, and we are happy to say that the existing catalogue raisonné of his prints (published by Hudson Hills press in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) has absolved us of having to redo that part of his work. But we will reorganize the records, making minor corrections as we have been able to find new info.

For more information, please refer to the Lichtenstein Foundation’s website www.lichtensteinfoundation.org, or contact atheil@lichtensteinfoundation.org.