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Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

120 Main Street, Upton MA 10568; 800-809-3343; email: sptwd@verizon.net

Last updated: 1-21-12
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Pop Art in the U.S. and Europe: Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923-1997)

Valerio Adami, Joan Gardy Artigas, Richard Avedon, Enrico Baj, Elizabeth Blackadder, Richard Bosman, Christo, Robert Cottingham, Allan D'Arcangelo, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Alex Katz, R. B. Kitaj, Nicholas Krushenick, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Lindner, Claes Oldenburg, Peter Phillips, Mel Ramos, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, James Rosenquist, George Segal, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Saul Steinberg, Andy Warhol, John Wesley, and Tom Wesselmann
One of the most acclaimed of the POP artists, Lichtenstein was born in 1923 in New York. In 1939-40 he studied under Reginald Marsh, noted for his New York City street scenes and his views of crowds at burlesque houses and crowded beaches, at the Art Students' League, New York and 1940-43 and 1946-49 at Ohio State University, Columbus, where he completed his studies with an M.A. Between these two periods of study he did his military service in Europe. Between 1949 and 1951 he taught at Ohio State University. In 1949 he had his first solo show at the Ten Thirty Gallery in Cleveland and 1951 he had his first New York one-man exhibition at the Carlebach Gallery. Until 1957 he worked as a commercial artist and designer and did display work for shop windows. His paintings and drawings at this time were parodies of American twenties' art, e.g. Remington's cowboy-and-Indian scenes. From 1957 to 1960 he taught at the Oswego campus of the State University of New York. His work passed through a non-representational, Abstract-Expressionist phase. In 1960 he became acquainted with Allan Kaprow and Claes Oldenburg. He began to use typical elements of commercial art, comics and advertisements in his drawings and painting. From 1960 to 1963 he taught at Douglass College, Rutgers University, New Jersey. After showing his comic-strip paintings to Leo Castelli in 1961, Lichtenstein was invited to have a one-man exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York in 1962 at which his paintings featuring Ben-Day dots, speech ballons, and lettering were in evidence. According to the late Professor Wayne Taylor who was at the gallery, after the show, Lichtenstein trimmed off the lettering announcing his Castelli show from the posters for the show (including Crying Girl), signed and numbered them, and sold them very inexpensively (Taylor bought several which, he lamented, he had given away as gifts to friends and students soon after purchasing them). In 1963 he moved to New York. He was commissioned by the architect Philip Johnson to produce large format paintings for the New York State Pavilion at the World's Fair in New York and had his first one-man exhibition in Europe at the Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris, which showed many of the American POP artists including Allan D'Arcangelo and Nicholas Krushenick. He was given his first American retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Cleveland. He was represented at the Venice Biennale in 1966, 1968 and 1970. In 1967-68 he had a retrospective at the Pasadena Art Museum, also shown at Minneapolis, Amsterdam, London, Berne and Hanover. He was represented at the documenta "4" and "5", Kassel, in 1968 and 1972 respectively. In 1969 he was given a retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which later toured the U.S.. He had a retrospective of his drawings in 1975 at the Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Paris, also shown at Berlin. In 1979 he received his first public commission for a sculpture. He made the Mermaid for the Theater of the Performing Arts, Miami Beach, Florida. He painted the series American Indians. In 1981 the St. Louis Art Museum organized a comprehensive retrospective of his work which toured the USA, Europe and Japan. In 1982 he rented a loft in New York in addition to his studio in Southampton. In 1985 he produced a mural for the Equitable Center, New York. In 1987 he had a retrospective of his drawings at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and at the Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 1988. He died of pneumonia in 1997.

Selected Bibliography: In addition to discussions of Lichtenstein in all of the standard works on the POP Art Movement (such as Judith Goldman, The Pop Image: Prints & Multiples (NY: Marlborough Graphics, 1994), Marco Livingstone, POP ART: A Continuing History (NY: Abrams, 1990), and Tilman Osterwold, POP ART (Cologne: Taschen, 1991), see ) Lawrence Alloway, Roy Lichtenstein (NY: Abbeville Press, 1983); Lawrence Alloway, Henry Geldzahler, & Robert Rosenblum, Roy Lichtenstein: The Mirror Paintings (NY: Mary Boone Gallery, 1989); Fondation Beyeler, Roy Lichtenstein (Basel, Switzerland: Fondation Beyeler, 1998); John Coplans, ed. Roy Lichtenstein: Documentary Monographs in Modern Art (NY: Praeger, 1972); Jack Cowart, Roy Lichtenstein 1970-1980 (NY: Hudson Hills Press for the Saint Louis Art Museum, 1981); Constance W. Glenn, ed. Roy Lichtenstein Landscape Sketches, 1984-5 (NY: Abrams, 1986); Roy Lichtenstein, Some Kind of Reality. Roy Lichtenstein interviewed by David Sylvester (London: d'Offay Gallery, 1997); Roy Lichtenstein, Roy Lichtenstein: The modern work, 1965-1970 (Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1978); Jane Livingston, The 36th Biennial exhibition of contemporary American Painting. Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg (Washington DC: The Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1979); Richard Morphet, Roy Lichtenstein (London: The Tate Gallery, 1968); Bernice Rose, The Drawings of Roy Lichtenstein (NY: The Museum of Modern Art / Abrams, 1987); Wieland Schmied, Roy Lichtenstein (Hanover.: Kestner-Gesellschaft, 1968); Calvin Tomkins & Bob Adelman, Roy Lichtenstein: Mural with Blue Brushstroke (NY: Abrams, 1988); Diane Waldman, Roy Lichtenstein (NY: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation / New York Graphic Society, 1969); Diane Waldman, Roy Lichtenstein (NY: Abrams, 1971); Diane Waldman, Roy Lichtenstein (NY: Guggenheim/Rizzoli, 1993); Diane Waldman, Roy Lichtenstein: Riflessi-Reflections (Rome: 1999—travelling show).

Prints: The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Roy Lichtenstein, Prints from the Collection of John and Kimiko Powers (Ridgefield, CT: The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, 1998); Riva Castleman, Seven Master Print-Makers: Innovations in the Eighties: from the Lilja Collection (NY: Museum of Modern Art, 1991); Colorado State University, Varoom! Roy Lichtenstein at Colorado State University (Fort Collins: Department of Art, Colorado State University, 1982); Diane Waldman, Roy Lichtenstein: Drawings and Prints (NY: Chelsea House, 1969).
CRAK! (Corlett 11.2.c). Offset lithograph, 1963. Edition unknown. Printed, according to the text below the image, for Lichtenstein's breakout show: "Leo Castelli 4 E. 77 NY September 28-October 24 1963. According to the late Professor Wayne Taylor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Art Department, after the show, Lichtenstein cut off the printed text (still present on our impression) and signed 300 of the remaining impressions of the poster. Printed on thin wove paper. Rich unfaded colors, overall very good condition. One of the classic defining POP images. In July 2005, we received a catalogue for a Lichtenstein show in London by the very reputable Sims-Reed Gallery listing the poster-announcement version of Crying Girl. They were asking £4000 (about $7600). Sheet size: 536x722mm. Image size: 471x681mm. Price: $4500.
That's The Way—It Should Have Begun! But It's Hopeless. Original silkscreen poster, 1968. Edition unknown. Printed for the 1968 Berne (Switzerland) Art Fair, this silkscreen dates from Lichtenstein's classic Pop period. Rare in the U.S. Pin holes at top, light creasing from having been rolled. One of the classic POP images. Image size: 915x915mm. Price: SOLD.
As I Opened Fire (Triptych) (Corbett App. 5). Offset lithograph, 1964. 3000 impressions published by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the owners of the painting, with Lichtenstein's authorization. A classic Pop image. Only sold as a set. Image size:638x527mm (each piece). Set price: $1500.
Romanze, or The Music Students (V&A 318-319). Original lithograph, 1967. Published by the Museum of Modern Art in NY City as a tribute to Frank O'Hara, poet, curator at MoMA, and art critic.Illustrated in From Manet to Hockney: Modern Artists's Illustrad Books, p. 318. Image size: 303x227mm. Price: $850.
Against Apartheid. Original color silkscreen, 1983. Published by Galerie Maeght-Lelong, Paris. Edition unknown. This silkscreen is part of a series, 15 artistes contra l'aparthied. There was also a signed and numbered avant-lettre edition of 100. Image size: 850x605mm. Price: $1500.

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