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“The paintings are teeming with unexpected wit”

The pioneering US Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein was born 100 years ago this autumn and centennial celebrations will continue into next spring with an exhibition at the Albertina museum in Vienna and in 2026 with a major survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art. This month, Gagosian in New York is hosting an exhibition of Lichtenstein’s sculptures curated by the art dealer Irving Blum. The accompanying catalogue includes a conversation between the artist and Blum, as well as a short essay from the actor and collector Steve Martin. Blum has picked five key books for readers who want to know more about Lichtenstein’s life and work.

Irving Blum and Roy Lichtenstein in Los Angeles in 1968

Roy Lichtenstein: Pop Masterpieces 1961-1964 (1987) by Roy Lichtenstein

“The title says it all! In 1963, 24 years before this was published, I opened my first exhibition of his work at Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. This year we are celebrating what would have been Roy’s 100th birthday. His works feel as fresh, important and thought-provoking today as they did in 1963.”

The Prints of Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné 1948-1993 (1994) by Mary Lee Corlett and Ruth E. Fine

“Making prints came naturally to Roy. He had a great graphic sensibility and this comprehensive book illustrates the brilliance of his printmaking. He devoted himself seriously to the craft earlier than any other major artist of his generation and is widely acknowledged as one of the most important printmakers of our time.”

Roy Lichtenstein: The Mirror Paintings (1989), edited by Mary Boone Gallery

“Roy’s Mirror series is among his most successful discourses to date on the notion of reality and illusion. The paintings are teeming with unexpected wit. In this group of paintings representing a mirror, Roy gives us just enough information to recognise what further complicates the issue of illusionism.”

Roy Lichtenstein (1993), edited by Diane Waldman

“A celebrated retrospective in 1993 at the Guggenheim was an encyclopaedic journey of Roy’s career up until then. The essays throughout the catalogue are inspired, educational and will help readers connect the dots on his multi-layered career. This focused look at Roy’s work reinforces why he continues to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century and reminds us of the breadth of his body of work.”

Roy Lichtenstein (October Files) (2009), with contributors including Yve-Alain Bois, John Coplans and Max Kozloff

“This informative assemblage of writings is comprised of very early reviews and interviews. The transcript of the 1995 slide presentation, in which Lichtenstein surveyed three decades of his work, and an in-depth study of his first pop painting, Look Mickey (1961), are particularly important.”

Lichtenstein Remembered, Gagosian, 188pp, $100 (hb)

Lichtenstein Remembered: Curated by Irving Blum, Gagosian, New York, 9 September-21 October

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