Roy Lichtenstein


"CRAK!," 1964

Offset lithograph in colors on lightweight wove paper
Edition: 165/300
Signed, dated, and numbered in pencil just inside the black border of the image, at lower right: Roy Lichtenstein; Colorcraft, New York, NY, prntr.; Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY, pub.
Image: 18.625" H x 27.125" W; Sheet: 19.25" H x 27.75" W

  • Provenance: The Marmor Family Collection
  • Literature: Bianchini 5; Corlett II.2; RLCR 812
  • Notes: "CRAK!" served as a promotional poster for Roy Lichtenstein's second solo exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City, which took place from September 28 to October 24, 1963. Other notable works included in the 1963 exhibition were, "Whaam!," "Drowning Girl," "Conversation," "In the Car," "Torpedo...Los!," and "Baseball Manager."

    Lichtenstein created this image by utilizing Ben-Day dots, speech balloons, and onomatopoeic graphic text, a characteristic of his signature comic book style. It was also one of many of "his works related to military art and monocular vision." Michael Lobel, an art historian, described monocular vision as a visual motif that depicts the subject "frontally in such a way as to expose both eyes to the view, yet which has one eye closed or otherwise obscured," and in the context of this particular image, "the main subject has one eye-opened and one eye closed, which related to a pervasive theme of monocularity in Lichtenstein's art."

    The visual inspiration for this piece comes from the comic book story, "Star Spangled War Stories #102," originally written by Bob Haney and illustrated by Jack Abel. He visually recomposed his image from the original comic book source by "replacing the mound of sand with what seems to be a stack of sandbags. He also isolated the figure by cropping the foreground and background elements."

    "CRAK!," encapsulates the aesthetic of the comic strip, vibrant primary colors, and moments of graphic motifs of action with pop culture ties; which all perfectly describe Lichtenstein's popular style.
  • Condition: Full margins. Pale light staining and the colors attenuated. Time staining along the extreme margin edges. Three small and soft creases in the upper right quadrant, the largest measuring 3" diagonally in the upper right corner of the image. A pinhead-sized area of paper loss in the extreme upper margin edge, at left. The verso sheet with backboard staining throughout, attendant with the cardboard backing being used. The sheet is loose, not matted.

    Framed under glass: 20.25" H x 28.75" W x 1.25" D

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March 26, 2024 12:00 PM PDT
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