Thursdays, September 23 & 30; October 7, 12 Noon


Guests may visit the exhibition

 “Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making 1948–1960


Alicia Longwell. Photo: Jenny Gorman


WATER MILL, NY 9/14/2021Beginning on Thursday September 23 and continuing for the following two weeks, Alicia G. Longwell, Ph.D., The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Chief Curatorwill give a series of talks on the world of Roy Lichtenstein, at 12 PM in the theater at the Parrish. Lunch is available for purchase at the Museum’s café, and guests may eat at long tables in the theater.

Longwell’s illustrated talk will include images from the critically acclaimed exhibition Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making 1948–1960, currently on view at the Museum and featuringapproximately 80 paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints—many on public view for the first time. Guests are encouraged to visit for current COVID-19 guidelines. For the month of September, first responders and healthcare workers will be granted free admission to the Museum thanks to the generosity of Bank of America

This first major museum exhibition to investigate the early work of the artist who lived and worked on the East End for decades, and became a founder of the Pop Art movement. History in the Making provides an illuminating prologue to Lichtenstein’s well-known comics-inspired imagery, and tells the largely overlooked story of his early career, when formal experimentation and a keen eye for irony irrevocably defined his art. Lichtenstein’s fruitful, formative years introduce a revisionist starting point for understanding his work and establish a fresh context for this period in 20th-century modern American art. Longwell’s talks will focus on specific themes in the exhibition.


Roy Lichtenstein, Self-Portrait at an Easel, 1951.

Oil on canvas; 36 x 42 inches. Private Collection 


Thursday, September 23, Noon

Self-Portrait at an Easel

Very much a modern artist, Lichtenstein was interested in exploring earlier moments in art such as the early Renaissance, when representing an image of the self would have been a novel idea. Here, in the guise of an artist who sports a mannequin face, he surrounds himself with objects associated with a painter’s studio—a curtain, easel, and the painting he is grasping. With Lichtenstein sporting a bowler hat, the painting also announces the arrival of a young artist who will take the long view to the past.  


Roy Lichtenstein, Washington Crossing the Delaware II, 1951.

Oil on canvas, 24 1/2 x 30 1/8 inches. The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Collection, New York. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein.


Thursday, September 30, Noon

Mythic America

Heroes like cowboys, gunslingers, and even General George Washington crossing the Delaware River are fair game in Lichtenstein’s scrutiny of legendary characters and the histrionics of the American narrative past. Washington Crossing the Delaware II (1951) attests to a central aim of Lichtenstein’s early work: satirizing the American historical narrative. Among his many sources during this period was Emanuel Leutze’s 1851 work, Washington Crossing the Delaware, an idealized depiction of Washington leading Continental Army troops on the eve of the Battle of Trenton in 1776. Lichtenstein’s version of this parable shows the artist’s willingness to parody even some of the most ingrained and revered American historical narratives.


Roy Lichtenstein, Variations No. 7, 1959.

Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 in. Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. The Roy Lichtenstein Study Collection; gift of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, 2019.277. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein


Thursday, October 7, Noon

Look Mickey

Longwell’s series ends at the close of the 1950s, just on the cusp of full-blown Pop Art, when Lichtenstein is exhibiting in New York and immersing himself in the heady artworld of Alan Kaprow’s “Happenings,” Claes Oldenburg’s soft sculpture, and Jim Dine’s oversized hearts. Lichtenstein’s fascination with popular culture and cartoon characters were central motivations behind loosely rendered drawings such as Bugs Bunny (1958) and Look Mickey (1961). That pivotal work, often credited as the first Pop painting, was first shown in Roy Lichtenstein: Paintings, a 1982 exhibition at the Parrish. The talk also includes examples from Lichtenstein’s brief but instrumental foray into abstraction with paintings such as Variations No.7 (1959), where frenetic brushstrokes used in earlier works are combined with small bands of color painted in stripes. The paintings are forerunners to future paintings and sculpture, such as Tokyo Brushstrokes which stand as beacons at the Museum’s entrance.


These indoor events require all attendees to show proof of vaccination (vaccine card/Excelsior Pass) or a negative PCR test within 72 hours. To help us expedite the check-in process, we encourage all guests to send their proof in advance by emailing it to Please put the event title in your subject line

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

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

The presentation of Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making, 1948-1960 at the Parrish Art Museum is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation; The Liliane and Norman Peck Fund for Exhibitions; Bank of America Private Bank; Gagosian Gallery; Barbara and Richard Lane; Barbara Bertozzi Castelli; Ellen Cantrowitz; and Jacqueline Brody.


Detail, Lichtenstein’s Tokyo Brushstroke I / Installation


Parrish Art Museum

Inspired by the natural setting and artistic life of Long Island’s East End, the Parrish Art Museum illuminates the creative process and how art and artists transform our experiences and understanding of the world and how we live in it. The Museum fosters connections among individuals, art, and artists through care and interpretation of the collection, presentation of exhibitions, publications, educational initiatives, programs, and artists-in-residence. The Parrish is a center for cultural engagement, an inspiration and destination for the region, the nation, and the world.


Parrish Art Museum photographs © Jeff Heatley.


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