Skip to main content

Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making, 1948 – 1960 is a 12-minute mini documentary video about the first major museum exhibition to reintroduce a beloved Pop artist to U.S. audiences. Most Americans know Lichtenstein for his comics-inspired Pop imagery.

In this new video, the camera sweeps across Lichtenstein’s early paintings, sculptures and works on paper rarely seen, while co-curators Elizabeth Finch and Marshall N. Price offer scholarly insights and art historical context. Viewers catch glimpses of the late artist’s paint jars and canvases in his well-preserved West Greenwich Village studio, where Jack Cowart, founding executive director of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, shares personal memories of the artist’s humor, ambivalence and loyalty about preserving his own early work.

Surprise and amazement registers on the faces of young artists Nina Chanel Abney, Pedro Lasch, Stacy Lynn Waddell and Allison Zuckerman, who see examples of Lichtenstein’s early paintings and drawings for the first time. The contemporary artists, who studied Lichtenstein in art school, share feelings about their own “cringey” early work.

The video Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making examines the period before the dot; that is, Lichtenstein’s signature use of Benday dots in his Pop paintings. Viewers will gain an understanding of the crucial role this work played in his maturation into one of the masters of Pop art. A human story emerges, relatable to any viewer who grew into a profession over the course of many years.

Tour Dates & Venues

Colby College Museum of Art: February 11 – June 6, 2021
Parrish Art Museum: August 1 – October 24, 2021
Columbus Museum of Art: March 4 – June 5, 2022
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University: August 25, 2022 – January 8, 2023


Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making, 1948 – 1960 is co-organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, N.C., and the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine. The exhibition is co-curated by Marshall N. Price, Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum and Elizabeth Finch, Lunder Curator of American Art at the Colby Museum.

Support for this exhibition and its national tour is provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

Additional catalogue support is provided by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.

At the Nasher Museum, this exhibition is made possible by the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation; the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family Fund for Exhibitions; the J. Horst and Ruth Mary Meyer Fund for the Nasher Museum; the Neely Family Fund; the Lenore and Victor Behar Endowment Fund; Christine and Jeff Weller; Katherine Thorpe Kerr and Terrance Kerr; Lisa Lowenthal Pruzan and Jonathan Pruzan; and Karen M. Rabenau and David H. Harpole; and Parker & Otis.

Additional Video Credits

Images of Lichtenstein’s work reproduced with permission.

Musical Selections
This video contains portions of royalty-free/creative commons music:

keebl. – “Bebop” (2016)

Unminus – “Jazz-Mezzo” (2019)

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter