ROY LICHTENSTEIN (1923 1997)

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Sandwich and Soda
ROY LICHTENSTEIN (1923 1997)
Sandwich and Soda, 1964
48.3 x 58.4 cm (19 x 23 in)
Edition: 500
Materials: Screenprint on clear plastic
Printer: Sirocco Screenprinters, North Haven, Connecticut, under the supervision of Ives-Sillman, New Haven, Connecticut
Publisher: The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut
Catalogue: Corlett 35

Additional Notes:

From the X + X (Ten Works by Ten Painters) portfolio.

Sheet: 50.8 x 61 cm (20 x 24 inches)

The portfolio is housed in an off-white cloth-covered box, measuring 25 5/8 x 21 1/4 x 1 1/4 inches (65.1 x 54 x 3.2 cm), with title screenprinted on the front in blue and white.  Each print is protected by a paper folder, with the artist’s name typeset on the front.  The portfolio is numbered on the inside of the title/colophon folio.  Contributing artists were Stuart Davis, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, George Ortman, Larry Poons, Ad Reinhardt, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol.

            The artists were selected by Samuel J. Wagstaff, Jr.  On the back of the title/colophon folio Wagstaff states: “This portfolio was commissioned and printed in an attempt to extend as much of the visual impact as possible of ten artists to paper and to make these prints available to collectors who might not otherwise have such a vivid slice of the artist.

            “The dry surface of screening seemed to be most apt to translate the effect of their painting, both the flatness which is the unifying bond between the ten, and the insistence of paint on the surface of canvas so like the visible heft of ink on paper here.”

            One auction record (Sotheby’s, New York, April 29- 30, 1988, lot 3034) documents a portfolio numbered “A- 16,” indicating that there may have been additional proofs aside from the numbered edition.  However, the publisher’s documentation is limited, and proofs could not be verified.

            This image was reproduced in the first edition of the raisonné with the glass at the left, following a discussion with the artist in which he stated that the inked surface of the plastic should be on the top.  Since the publication of the raisonné, however, the question which side is “up” has been revisited, in part because the drawing for this print is oriented with the glass at the right (see Bianchini [1971]), cat. no. 64- 3).  Lichtenstein rarely reversed his images from the drawing to the final print.  In addition, a proof on paper, showing the glass on the right, is now known (collection of Alex Meyerovich, San Francisco).

            Mrs. Lichtenstein has confirmed that it is her belief that the printed surface of the image was intended to be underneath, so that the glass would be on the right.  George Townsend, the printer for this project, also believes that the printed surface should be underneath.  According to Townsend (telephone conversation with Corlett, February 8, 1999), Lichtenstein wanted the glossiest possible surface.  The inks were chosen for that quality, and by printing the image to be viewed through the plastic, the shimmering qualities of the plastic itself would be used to best effect. 

            Mrs. Lichtenstein believes that had Lichtenstein been looking at the actual drawing and the finished print at the same time of our discussions, he would have come to this same conclusion about the orientation of the piece.  We therefore believe there is compelling evidence to warrant reversing the image.

            In that same discussion with Townsend, the printer stated that he believed that about 20 of those prints were, in fact, signed.  This also conflicts with Lichtenstein’s statement at the time of the first edition of the raisonné that none was ever signed.  The Lichtenstein Estate believes that it is possible that some were signed by the artist.