The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation has announced planned gifts of art to the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art as it begins the process of winding down.
The Whitney in New York City will receive more than four hundred works from various periods of Lichtenstein's career — nearly half of the foundation's holdings of the artist's work — including paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, collages, maquettes, models, study photographs, and drawings, as well as studio materials selected to illustrate Lichtenstein's artistic practice and process. As part of a long-term partnership, the Lichtenstein Studio, located near the museum, will host a series of public and specialized programs initiated by the Whitney's conservation, education, and curatorial departments.
"We have always intended that the foundation, now almost twenty years old, would not operate in perpetuity and are delighted we can create a new way forward with our first set of chosen successor institutions, well before we 'sunset,'" said Dorothy Lichtenstein, the artist's widow and president of the Lichtenstein Foundation. "We will continue to refine and expand these projects and facilitate research opportunities. Furthermore, it is our long-range hope that Roy's Washington Street studio would go to the Whitney as a venue for its extensive artistic and scholarly programming. We will be delighted if this proves to be a useful model for other artists and artists' foundations, estates, or trusts."
The Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C., will help digitize the foundation's archives, including Lichtenstein's voluminous studio working records, which will then be gifted in stages. The Archives of American Art's website will provide free and open access to the digitized materials — including oral histories and artist interviews, art object files, the audiovisual collection, correspondence, exhibition files, and documentary photographs of the artist, his art, and exhibition installations.
"We look forward to moving works from our storages to public institutions as well as sharing our vast archives and finishing our major catalogue raisonné," said Lichtenstein Foundation executive director Jack Cowart. "[W]e can now start thinking about subsequent long-range donations of Lichtenstein works and materials to selected museums in America and Europe. We would hope to establish various groupings around specific aspects of Roy's history, work, and process."