Roy Lichtenstein shook up the American art scene in the 1960s and changed the direction of modern art. Lichtenstein went from being a rogue artist, criticized for his use of cartoon images, to becoming one of the most celebrated and sought-after artists in the world.
Since his death, in 1997, the Roy Lichtenstien Foundation, headed by Lichtenstein’s wife, Dorothy, has overseen the artist’s works and papers. Now, at age 78, she says, it’s time to wind things down. “Not all foundations intend to exist in perpetuity,” she said, in a New York Times interview this month. “For this type, estate distribution is their mission.”
Giving to the Whitney and the Smithsonian
About 400 of Roy Lichtenstein’s works, nearly half of the foundation’s holdings, are going to the Whitney Museum of American Art. Included in the gifts to the Whitney are early works, like the 1948 pastel, Pilot and rare sculptures, like the 1964 Head of a Girl, which were chosen by Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s director, to best exemplify the scope of Lichtenstein’s career.
The Smithsonian will be getting about half a million of Lichtenstein’s documents, which will be added to the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. The material will take five to seven years to digitize and put onto the Archives’ website. Like other Smithsonian archival data, Lichtenstein’s material will be available for free access by the public.
Roy Lichtenstein and The Gun in America
Time magazine commissioned Roy Lichtenstein to create a cover for its May 24, 1968 issue, which focused on presidential primary candidate Robert F. Kennedy. After the issue was released, and Kennedy saw his portrait on the cover of Time, he sent Lichtenstein a telegram that read, “I thought your cover picture was really marvelous, but I don’t have red spots all over my face.”
On June 5, 1968, just a few weeks after the publication of that issue, Robert Kennedy was assassinated while campaigning in Los Angeles. Time magazine called on Lichtenstein again, a few weeks after the assassination, to produce a cover for an issue that focused on gun violence and gun control in America. Lichtenstein’s portrait of RFK is now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery to mark the 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s assassination.
Roy Lichtenstein at VFA
Roy Lichtenstein was not just a gifted painter and sculptor, but also a skilled and creative printmaker. His prints played a vital role in establishing printmaking as a significant art form in the 1960s. Please contact us for more information about Salute to Aviation or any of other of fine works by Roy Lichtenstein available at VFA.
Brigit Katz. The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Will Give Away Its Trove of Artworks and Archives. June 12, 2018.SMITHSONIAN.COM
The Gun in America, June 21, 1968.