The Morgan Receives Important Gift from the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
New York, NY, July 2014—The Morgan Library & Museum announced today that it has received a major gift from the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), including twenty-one sketchbooks by the renowned artist, two of his early drawings, and several original drawings by artists who were part of his circle. The works were given to the Morgan by Lichtenstein’s wife, Dorothy, in memory of her husband.
The Morgan held a critically acclaimed exhibition of Lichtenstein’s drawings in 2010, and this gift positions the institution to become a significant center for the study of the artist’s work. The sketchbooks include numerous studies and are important source material on Lichtenstein’s working method and the subject matter that attracted him during the various phases of his career. The drawings, which include sheets by Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Brice Marden, and Robert Rauschenberg, add significantly to the Morgan’s growing collection of modern works on paper, while highlighting Lichtenstein’s close involvement with some of the great practitioners of his day. In addition to the gift of the twenty-one sketchbooks, the Morgan will also receive on long-term loan eleven of the artist’s remaining sketchbooks, which are now held by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.
“The significance of this gift to the Morgan cannot be overstated,” said William M. Griswold, Director of the museum. “Roy Lichtenstein is one of the true masters of twentieth-century art. Our recent exhibition of his drawings shed new light on his extraordinary career, and the sketchbooks that we are receiving provide rare and valuable insight into his ideas, practices, subjects, and interests. They also continue a notable collecting tradition at the Morgan, which holds numerous artists’ sketchbooks dating back to the early Renaissance.
“The individual drawings by Lichtenstein and some of his most illustrious contemporaries substantially enrich our collection of modern works on paper and constitute a transformational addition to the Morgan’s holdings. We are deeply grateful to Dorothy Lichtenstein for this singular gift.”
The thirty-two sketchbooks that will come to the Morgan cover the period from the mid-1960s to the artist’s death in 1997, and include drawings related to most of his familiar themes. They reveal a working method whereby Lichtenstein made groups of sketches of a particular subject, and then selected one to be cut out and projected onto the canvas to be painted. The studies that have remained in the sketchbooks present alternate versions and details that further illuminate the artist's intentions.
The two drawings by Lichtenstein, large in scale, belong to the early years of his career, dating to 1958, and explore his fascination with popular American culture. Titled Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse I, they show Lichtenstein experimenting in an Abstract Expressionist style—influenced by Willem de Kooning’s paintings of women—but with subject matter that prefigures his Pop Art phase.
The drawings by other artists from Lichtenstein’s personal collection include an extremely important 1962 Andy Warhol work titled Campbell’s Soup Can and Dollar Bills. Combining two of the artist’s most iconic images, the work dates to a period when Warhol was using a loose style of drawing before initiating his famous serialized silk-screening process of the mid-1960s.
An untitled drawing by Cy Twombly dating to 1964 was made at Val Gardena in the Italian Alps. It shows the artist’s trademark richness of style, combining graffiti and symbols with scribbles and scratches expressive of his gestural approach.
A 1966 drawing by Brice Marden was purchased by Lichtenstein at Marden’s first solo gallery show the same year. Untitled and executed on the back of a cancelled print proof by Ellsworth Kelly, the drawing is a major work rendered in the textured, monochromatic palette that characterizes his work from the period.
“I had the privilege of getting to know the Morgan’s director, Bill Griswold, the curator, Isabelle Dervaux, and conservator, Peggy Holben Ellis when the Morgan mounted the exhibition of Roy’s early black and white drawings,” Dorothy Lichtenstein said, in making the gift. “They were such an impressive team that I made the decision to donate our collection of drawings to what I believe will be the best home for them.”
“Roy and I have always loved the Morgan,” she added. “It is a unique institution, which, whenever we visited, felt like a total respite from the hectic pace of the city. When the Morgan started showing modern and contemporary art I thought it would be the best place to share some of the drawings we had collected over the years.”
In February 2015, the drawings and a selection of sketchbooks from the gift will be included in an exhibition that will celebrate ten years of acquisitions of stellar modern and contemporary drawings at the Morgan. The show will highlight both the continuity and radical shifts in twentieth- and twenty-first-century artistic practice in the medium of drawing.
Drawings Gifted to the Morgan from the Collection of Dorothy and Roy Lichtenstein
1. Roy Lichtenstein
Donald Duck, 1958
Brush and india ink on paper
20 1/16 x 26 1/16 in. (51 x 66.2 cm)
2. Roy Lichtenstein
Mickey Mouse I, 1958
Pastel, brush and india ink on paper
19 1/8 x 25 in. (48.6 x 63.5 cm)
3. Andy Warhol
Campbell’s Soup Can and Dollar Bills, 1962
Graphite pencil and watercolor on paper
24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm)
4. Cy Twombly
Untitled (Val Gardena), 1964
Colored pencil, crayon, graphite pencil and ball-point pen on paper
27 ½ x 39 ¼ in. (69.9 x 99.7 cm)
5. Brice Marden
Graphite pencil and beeswax on paper
26 x 26 in. (66 x 66 cm)
6. Bruce Nauman
6 inches of my knee extended to 6 feet, 1967
Charcoal and tape on tracing paper
68 x 12 ¾ in. (172 x 32.4 cm)
7. Claes Oldenburg
Crayon and watercolor
9 x 11 in. (22.9 x 27.9 cm)
8. James Rosenquist
Fork and Ice Cube, 1967
Charcoal, chalk and collage on paper
22 ¼ x 30 in. (56.5 x 76.2 cm)
9. Robert Rauschenberg
Graphite pencil, paint and paper collage on paper
49 x 60 in. (124.5 x 152.4 cm)
Store Front’s No. 4,3,2/Project/, 1965
Acrylic, colored pencil, enamel paint, fabric, graphite, masonite, nails, paper, plexiglass, silver pen, tape, wax crayon and wood
20 x 27 ¼ in. (50.8 x 69.2 cm)
The Morgan Library & Museum
The Morgan Library & Museum began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan, one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors in the United States. Today, more than a century after its founding in 1906, the Morgan serves as a museum, independent research library, musical venue, architectural landmark, and historic site. In October 2010, the Morgan completed the first-ever restoration of its original McKim building, Pierpont Morgan’s private library, and the core of the institution. In tandem with the 2006 expansion project by architect Renzo Piano, the Morgan now provides visitors unprecedented access to its world-renowned collections of drawings, literary and historical manuscripts, musical scores, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, printed books, and ancient Near Eastern seals and tablets.
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue, at 36th Street, New York, NY 10016-3405
Just a short walk from Grand Central and Penn Station
Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; extended Friday hours, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Morgan closes at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
$18 for adults; $12 for students, seniors (65 and over), and children (under 16); free to Members and children 12 and under accompanied by an adult. Admission is free on Fridays from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission is not required to visit the Morgan Shop, Café, or Dining Room.
The programs of the Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with
the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.