Project Profile: The Roy Lichtenstein Catalogue Raisonné

"Roy on Ladder, 1991" - Photograph © Laurie Lambrecht,1991

“Roy on Ladder, 1991” – Photograph © Laurie Lambrecht,1991

Artist:  Roy Lichtenstein (1923 – 1997)
Planned Title: Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné
Scope: The catalogue will illustrate every confirmed work and publish all known paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, commissions and other artwork by Roy Lichtenstein. The artist produced approximately 5,000 works during his lifetime (not counting the full edition runs of prints or multiples).
Years Covered:  The earliest works date from c. 1940 and the latest, 1997, plus a limited number of posthumous sculpture casts and prints.
Print or Digital:  We are planning to publish first an online catalogue version. When persuasively complete, we expect to issue a summary of our research in book form, distributed by a major University Press.
Database:  The Museum System (TMS) until 2011; panOpticon since then.
Schedule:  A first digital version is planned to be online in 2017.
Publisher: To be defined
Organized by:  The catalogue is organized and managed by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Jack Cowart (Executive Director), Andrea C. Theil (Project Manager).

CRSA:  What are some of the Roy Lichtenstein Catalogue Raisonné’s primary resources?
RLCR:  Since its beginning in 1999, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation has been systematically sorting through the extensive artist studio records. Lichtenstein and his studio staff photographed most of his artworks in the studio, and they accumulated contemporary documentation about his art, commissions, editions, and exhibitions. The material includes correspondence, exhibition files, catalogues, source books, studio and installation photographs as well as films, video, audio tapes and other materials related to the creation and production of Lichtenstein’s art. Of major importance are also the artwork and documentation held by the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein. When it comes to technical questions we are continuously benefiting from the experience of Lichtenstein’s longtime studio assistants.

Provenance research usually starts with looking through the comprehensive Leo Castelli Gallery records at the Archives of American Art which cover the long relationship between the artist and his lifetime gallerist. We also refer to the oral histories conducted over the past decade by Avis Berman on behalf of the Foundation. She interviewed (and still interviews) family members, friends, and studio staff as well as people who were involved directly or indirectly in Lichtenstein’s creative life. Our research is enriched by the detailed memories and deep knowledge of Lichtenstein’s art offered by his widow Dorothy Lichtenstein.

CRSA:  What specific challenges do you face in preparing the RL Catalogue Raisonné?
RLCR:  One of our challenges is the attempt to create a complex online reference tool which covers numerous aspects of Lichtenstein’s work – sometimes it is rather difficult to establish a clear and integrated architecture. But with the help of our panOpticon database we are making great progress.

CRSA: Will the existing RL Catalogue Raisonné of Prints be included in your online CR version?
RLCR:  Yes, it will. Lichtenstein was a prolific print maker, and we are happy to say that the existing catalogue raisonné of his prints (published by Hudson Hills press in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) has absolved us of having to redo that part of his work. But we will reorganize the records, making minor corrections as we have been able to find new info.

For more information, please refer to the Lichtenstein Foundation’s website www.lichtensteinfoundation.org, or contact atheil@lichtensteinfoundation.org.

Ask the Reference Desk: Are there agreed “best practices” for building a catalogue raisonné?

ReferenceDesk

At the CRSA’s recent Business Meeting at CAA, one member mentioned how difficult she was finding it to establish “best practices” for beginning and building a catalogue raisonné.  Other members agreed.  From organizational questions such as, is an editorial or advisory board necessary, to practical questions such as, how much information should be included in the published provenance – it seems there is no one place to find all the answers.

This is, in fact, broadly the case.  And for a good reason:  since every project is different (and every artist presents different challenges), it is hard if not impossible to establish what might work best for everyone.  However, this is not to say that more could not be done to help answer some of the questions we all seem to come across in our work.

CRSA is hoping to take on this unique challenge in 2014.  By finding more opportunities for CR projects (both in progress and complete) to compare procedures and standards, we may better help those just getting started.  Look for news on upcoming events and surveys.

In the meantime, members recommend reviewing published catalogues raisonnés – introductory sections often provide a “guide to entries” that explains an author’s research methodology.  And the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) is generous to provide the proceeding of their 2001 conference “Catalogues Raisonnés and the Authentication Process: Where the Ivory Tower Meets the Marketplace,” a document that many projects have found to be a valuable resource.  But, overall, we find time and time again that the best and fastest resource is our community of CR scholars.  Help us all connect by posting questions to the Listserv, joining CRSA events to network with the community, and keep checking the Forum for Project Profiles and more Reference Desk questions. 

Events: Informational Session on Proposed Legislation to Protect Scholars Issuing Opinions

The Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association is pleased to offer an informational session on proposed legislation to help protect scholarly opinions on the authenticity of works of art, an initiative of The Art Law Committee of the New York BarThe session will be run by Dean Nicyper, Chair of the Art Law Committee, and Judith Brelser, Chair of the Authenticity Subcommittee of the Art Law Committee, who are eager to discuss this legislation with stakeholders in the catalogue raisonné community.  The Committee’s report with a summary of proposed legislation can be found here.

The session is open to CRSA members and others within the community.  It will take place on Thursday, February 20 at 10am, at the Dedalus Foundation Brooklyn.  Please RSVP by Monday, February 17 to rsvp@catalogueraisonne.org.

Directions
The Dedalus Foundation Brooklyn is located at 254 36th Street, Suite 2-BE, Brooklyn, NY 11232.  The venue is 1 1/2 blocks from the 36th Street (Brooklyn) D/N/R subway station. 36th Street is the second stop in Brooklyn on either the D or the N lines. Please exit at 36th Street and walk west, under the elevated highway. The building is on the south side of the street. Street parking is available.

Events: CAA Annual Conference in Chicago, February 12-15

A reminder to please join CRSA at the College Art Association’s annual conference next week in Chicago for our panel and annual business meeting.  As usual the week will be packed with an incredible number of important events and meetings going on during the conference week.  Below is a short list of sessions which CRSA members may find particularly relevant and informative (click on titles for more details from CAA’s website).  Are there other sessions taking place next week that would be interesting to CRSA members?  Are you presenting or chairing a panel?  Feel free to recommend any additional sessions in the comments area below.

Wednesday, February 12

CRSA Session: Catalogue Raisonné Research and Contemporary Trends in Art Historical Discourse
12:30 PM—2:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor, Williford C
Maintaining the Past: Collecting and Collectors in Twenty-First-Century Museums, Part I
2:30 PM—5:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor, Williford A&B

Thursday, February 13

GETTY RESEARCH INSTITUTE presents Archives for Art History: Artists’ Estates And Archives
12:30 PM—2:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor, Lake Michigan
CRSA Business Meeting
5:30 PM—7:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level, Continental A

Friday, February 14

JOAN MITCHELL FOUNDATION presents Creating a Living Legacy (CALL): Building Awareness on the Value of Artists’ Legacies
7:30 AM—9:00 AM
Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor, Boulevard A&B
Digital Publishing in Art History: the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative
9:30 AM—12:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level, Continental C
ITHAKA S+R presents Research Support Services and the Changing Research Habits of Art Historians
12:30 PM—2:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor, Boulevard C

Saturday, February 15

Maintaining the Past: Collecting and Collectors in Twenty-First-Century Museums, Part II
9:30 AM—12:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, 4th Floor, Conference Room 4D
COMMITTEE ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY presents Fair Use: How, Why Where and For Whom?
12:30 PM—2:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor, International North

Project Profile: The Donald Judd Catalogue Raisonné

Donald Judd in his studio © Judd Foundation

Artist:  Donald Judd (1928-1994)
Scope:  Sculptures, paintings, and woodblocks
Years Covered:  1940s to 1994
Print or Digital:  Undecided
Database:  FileMaker Pro
Schedule:  The project was begun in earnest in 2009, although research that benefits the catalogue raisonné was begun several years earlier.  A publication date has not yet been set.
Supported by:  Judd Foundation and the support of anonymous donors

CRSA:  What are some of the Donald Judd Catalogue Raisonné’s primary resources?
DJCR:  We used the lifetime catalogue raisonné (Del Balso, Smith, and Smith 1975) as a jumping off point.  However, this catalogue only includes work completed between August 1960 and mid-1974, leaving several decades at the beginning and end of his career completely uncatalogued.  Judd worked with a wide range of fabricators, so our primary sources are the fabricator records and a running record that Judd’s studio assistants kept beginning in 1968.  We’re lucky to have a number of the studio assistants involved with the project and their memories and stories add so much depth and context to our daily research.

CRSA:  What is something you have come across in your research that changed your understanding of the way Donald Judd worked?
DJCR:  This past June we opened Judd’s Soho studio to the public after three years of active restoration.  The catalogue raisonné offices are located in the basement of the building, which affords us special insight into how Judd’s living and working spaces continue to resonate with the art, design, and architecture communities.  It has brought Judd’s insistence that “art should be made as one lives” into high relief and affects how we interact with the research we are collecting. One starts to really understand the importance of permanently installed spaces when working in one.

CRSA: What specific challenges do you face in researching Donald Judd?
DJCR:  Each catalogue raisonné project has a different set of challenges even though they may look similar on the surface.  It’s been complicated to parse the varying records among the large number of fabricators he used.  The numbering system became a bit confused at a certain point with duplicate numbers, unfinished works, rejected works, and restored works.  It can also be extremely difficult to identify exactly which works were exhibited as Judd’s works are nearly all untitled and black-and-white installation photographs may only tell you what type of work was shown (i.e. a large “stack”) not the exact work that was shown (i.e. the large stack in copper and pink Plexiglas from 1983).

For more information, please refer to Judd Foundation’s website juddfoundation.org
or contact Katy Rogers at krogers@juddfoundation.org.