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Roy Lichtenstein Chronology: the 1950s

1950
R.L.
moves with Isabel to 1496 Perry Street in Columbus.
De Kooning begins Woman I, the first painting in his third Woman series.
April. Studio 35 officially closes.
Dec. The Institute of Contemporary Art is established in London to encourage
interaction between artists, poets, and the public.
Dec. 8-Feb. 25, 1951. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York; Fifth Avenue
at 82nd Street) presents American Art Today 1950, a juried show with works
by more than 300 artists, including Will Barnet, Isabel Bishop, Marsh, and
Mark Tobey.

1950-51
Twombly studies painting at the Art Students League, where he meets fellow
student Rauschenberg.
Philip Pearlstein begins his early comic-strip paintings; eventually he
destroys all but one of them.

1951-57
R.L.
works at various jobs, most lasting about six months each, including:
teaching drawing at the Cooper School, a commercial-art school; working as
an engineering draftsman at Republic Steel; decorating display windows
part-time at Halle's Department Store; drawing black-and-white dials for
Hickok Electrical Instrument Company; making project models at an
architecture firm.
Travels frequently to New York during his six years in Cleveland. While R.L.
is in Ohio, Stanley Landesman introduces him to Herman Cherry and Warren
Brandt, through whom he learns about the Cedar Bar on University Place in
Manhattan. He occasionally drops into the bar, which is frequented by de
Kooning, Franz Kline, and Pollock, among others, but is too shy to make
contact with any of them.

1951
R.L.
brings paintings around to galleries in New York, such as M. Knoedler
and Sidney Janis, carting them on top of his station wagon.
Washington Crossing the Delaware I is an example of R.L.'s 1951 work.

March 21-May 20. R.L.'s To Battle, a woodcut, is exhibited along with works
by more than 200 other artists in the Brooklyn Museum's juried show The
Fifth National Print Annual Exhibition. R.L.'s work is one of 20 selected to
receive a Brooklyn Museum Purchase Award and enter the collection. Members
of the jury include Albers, who the preceding year was appointed Chairman of
the Design Department at Yale University.
April 30-May 12. R.L.'s first solo exhibition in Manhattan, at Carlebach
Gallery (937 Third Avenue). The show includes paintings rendered in muted
pinks, blues, and mauves, and assemblages made from found wood, metal
pieces, and found objects such as screws and drill buffers.
May 14-June 2. Rauschenberg's first solo exhibition, at Betty Parsons
Gallery in New York.
May 24-June 10. Leo Castelli and other members of the Club mount Today's
Self-Styled School of New York, an exhibition of works by Abstract
Expressionists to protest their exclusion from the Metropolitan Museum of
Art's American Art Today 1950. Included in the Club's show are works by
Cornell, de Kooning, Kline, Pollock, Rauschenberg, photographer Aaron
Siskind, and others.
Autumn. R.L., along with several other instructors,is denied tenure at Ohio
State University. Isabel finds work as a decorator in Cleveland and the
family moves there, to 11483 Hessler Road, N.E.
Dec. 31-Jan. 12, 1952. John Heller Gallery in New York (108 East 57th
Street) presents a solo exhibition of R.L.'s work, consisting of 16
paintings based on American frontier themes, and several self-portraits as a
knight. Prof. Sherman contributes a brief preface to the show's brochure.
One painting in the show, Death of the General, is reproduced in ARTnews and
Art Digest.

1952
The Museum of Non-Objective Painting is renamed the Solomon R. Guggenheim
Museum.
Jan. First purchase by MoMA of works by Rauschenberg (two photographic
blueprints made at Black Mountain College with Susan Weil, his former wife).
March 2-22. Solo exhibition of 17 of R.L.'s works-paintings, drawings, and
prints-at Art Colony Galleries in Cleveland (11504 Euclid Avenue). One
pencil drawing priced at $30, entitled Knight Storming Castle, includes a
collage element of a photo of a castle taped onto it; it is described by an
art critic for The Cleveland News as "truly like the doodling of a
five-year-old." The show receives an enormous number of responses from
viewers, both negative and positive.
Spring. First meeting of the Independent Group (IG) at London's Institute of
Contemporary Art, including Lawrence Alloway, Reyner Banham, Richard
Hamilton, and Paolozzi.
Summer. Rauschenberg meets Cage at Black Mountain College and participates
in Cage's Theater Piece #1.
Autumn. R.L.'s works shown in several national and regional juried
exhibitions, including shows at the Denver Art Museum, the University of
Nebraska, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of
the Fine Arts.
Johns returns to New York and takes a job at a bookstore.
Hansa Gallery, an artist's cooperative founded by former students of Hofmann
(including Jean Follet, Kaprow, and Segal) opens at 70 East 12th Street in
New York. (In 1954, it moves to a brownstone at 210 Central Park South,
where it remains until it closes in 1959.)
Dec. Harold Rosenberg, in an article in ARTnews, introduces the term Action
Painting.

1952-53
R.L.
incorporates titles and advertising copy in some woodcut compositions
and paintings, such as Emigrant Train After William Ranney and The
Explorer.

1953
Jan. 26-Feb. 7. R.L.'s second solo exhibition at John Heller Gallery,
consisting of oils and watercolors based on Americana themes. One of them,
The Diplomat, is reproduced in ARTnews.
March-April. Sidney Janis Gallery (15 East 57th Street) presents Willem de
Kooning: Paintings on the Theme of Woman, featuring his third Woman series.
Woman I is purchased by MoMA.
April. Rauschenberg returns to New York and rents a studio on Fulton Street.
Sept. 15-Oct. 3. Rauschenberg and Twombly exhibit together at Eleanor Ward's
Stable Gallery in New York (924 Seventh Avenue). At the show, Rauschenberg
meets Duchamp.
Sept. 20-Oct. 3. R.L.is one of 50 artists represented in the opening
exhibition of Art Colony Galleries' third season.
Nov. Receives an award for his woodcut Cherokee Brave in the Contemporary
Printmaking Exhibition at Ohio State University.
Dec. In San Francisco, Jess [Collins] begins to use Chester Gould's
newspaper comic strip "Dick Tracy" in his "paste-up" series Tricky Cad.
Dec. 8-Jan. 9, 1954. Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York (206 East 53rd
Street) exhibits Larry Rivers's painting Washington Crossing the Delaware.
Winter. Johns and Rauschenberg meet in New York.
Oldenburg begins classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago;
exhibits with Indiana in Chicago; and meets H. C. Westermann.
Segal and Kaprow meet at Douglass College, Rutgers, the State University of
New Jersey.

1954
Rauschenberg begins making "combines," incorporating found objects and
blurring the distinction between painting and sculpture.
R.L.moves to 1863 Crawford Street in Cleveland.
Begins to employ a rotating easel to paint.
March 8-27. R.L.'s third solo exhibition at the John Heller Gallery,
consisting of paintings based on American folklore themes and others that
feature depictions of machine parts based on engineer's blueprints. Robert
Rosenblum and Fairfield Porter review the show for Art Digest and ARTnews,
respectively.
Spring. Johns and Rauschenberg begin to do window displays at Bonwit Teller
and Tiffany's, on Fifth Avenue in New York.
July. Kelly returns to New York from France.
Summer. Johns moves to loft on Pearl Street. Begins first Flag painting.
Oct. First exhibition of Arensberg collection of Dada works, at the
Philadelphia Museum of Art; seen by Johns and Rauschenberg.
Oct. 9. R.L.'s son David Hoyt Lichtenstein is born.
Oct. 26. The Whitney Museum moves to 22 West 54th Street.

1955
R.L.
creates several wall-mounted assemblages of painted wood.
Butler Museum of American Art (Youngstown, Ohio) purchases R.L.'s painting
The Surrender of Weatherford to Jackson, the first of several of his works
to enter the museum's collection.
Jan. Rauschenberg moves to Pearl Street building where Johns is living.
Rauschenberg paints Rebus (a painting in which he incorporates newspaper
comics pages) and Hymnal (which contains a page from the Manhattan Yellow
Pages and a wanted poster). Johns continues to make Flag paintings and
begins to make Target and number paintings.
Jan. 9. Art Colony Galleries' three-person show with R.L., Christine Miller,
and Louis Penfield opens. Among the 13 paintings by R.L. are Indians, A
Flying Device, and Perpetual Motion Machine. One critic describes them as
"Klee-like and surprising."
April 6. Rivers's Washington Crossing the Delaware is purchased by MoMA.
Sept. Rosenquist moves to New York from Minnesota to attend the Art Students
League. Meets Indiana.

1956
R.L.
creates a lithograph called Ten Dollar Bill, his first proto-Pop work,
in an edition of 25.
Cage begins to teach music composition at the New School for Social Research
in New York; Kaprow is one of his students.
Black Mountain College closes.
March 10. R.L.'s son Mitchell Wilson Lichtenstein is born.
May 31. Oldenburg arrives in New York from Chicago.
Aug. 8-Sept. 12. Whitechapel Art Gallery (London) presents This is Tomorrow
exhibition, including a pavilion designed by British Pop artists Hamilton,
John McHale, and John Voelcker lined with familiar images from the media
(such as Marilyn Monroe and a real jukebox). Hamilton's collage Just what is
it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? is used for the
show's poster and catalogue cover.
Aug. 11. Pollock dies in an automobile accident.

1957
Oldenburg creates Sausage, a precursor to his 1960s soft sculptures.
Rosenquist meets Johns, Kelly, Agnes Martin, Rauschenberg, and Youngerman.
Jan. 8-26. R.L.'s final solo exhibition at John Heller Gallery, consisting
of paintings based on Americana themes.
Feb. 1. Leo Castelli opens a gallery at 4 East 77th Street in New York, with
a show of works by de Kooning, Giacometti, Kandinsky, Pollock, and others.
March 15. Walter Hopps and Edward Kienholz open Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles
(736A N. La Cienega Boulevard) to show work by local avant-garde artists.
Sept. R.L. takes position as assistant professor of art at the State
University of New York at Oswego.
Moves to 52 Church Street in Oswego.
Begins to use Abstract Expressionist style in his paintings, which include
renderings of cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Bugs Bunny.
Dec. Wesselmann begins classes at Cooper Union in New York.

1958
Rosenquist begins painting billboards for Artkraft Strauss in New York.
Johns includes a panel from Vincent Hamlin's 1931 comic strip "Alley Oop" as
a collage element in his work of the same title.
Dine moves to New York after completing graduate studies at Ohio University,
and begins teaching at Rhodes School on Long Island.
Jan. 17. Kaprow speaks at the Club; influences Oldenburg.
Jan. 20-Feb. 8. Johns's first solo exhibition, at Leo Castelli Gallery,
featuring his Target and Flag paintings. Target with Four Faces is
reproduced on cover of January edition of ARTnews.
Feb. Alloway's phrase "popular art" appears in his article "The Arts and the
Mass Media" in Architectural Design (London).
Feb. 2-21. Hansa Gallery shows Segal's first life-size plaster sculptures.
March. Hansa Gallery presents an environment by Kaprow.
March 4-29. Rauschenberg's first show at Leo Castelli Gallery, featuring his
combines, including Bed, Rebus, and Hymnal.
April 15. Kaprow stages a Happening at Douglass College.
Aug. 30. Hofmann's School of Fine Arts closes.
Nov. Judson Studio opens in the basement of Judson Memorial Church in
Manhattan. Gallery space is made available to artists in the neighborhood
free of charge. (Name is changed to Judson Gallery in February 1959).
Nov. 25-Dec. 13. Exhibition at Hansa Gallery of a junk-filled environment by
Kaprow with sound, light, and odors.

1959
Spring. Kaprow uses the term Happening for the first time in print,
announcing his performance at Rutgers of "Something to Take Place, a
Happening."
Hansa Gallery closes.
June 2-27. R.L.'s untitled abstractions are shown for the first time, in a
solo exhibition at Condon Riley Gallery (24 East 67th Street). Most of the
paintings feature scant traces of bright color on a white background; some
contain heavy impasto.
Autumn. Dine meets Kaprow.
Christo [Javacheff] makes his first wrapped packages, covering used
materials with canvas and binding them with rope.
On the West Coast, Edward Ruscha creates a mixed-media piece, Dublin,
incorporating a portion of the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie."
Oct. 4, 6-10. Kaprow stages "18 Happenings in 6 Parts" in New York for the
opening of the Reuben Gallery (61 Fourth Avenue), directed by Anita Reuben,
with contributions by Johns and Rauschenberg (they paint different sides of
a piece of fabric used during the performance).
Oct. 21. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opens in its new building,
designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, at 1071 Fifth Avenue.
Dec. 16-Feb. 14, 1960. MoMA presents Sixteen Americans, organized by Dorothy
C. Miller, featuring works by Johns, Rauschenberg, Frank Stella (his series
of black paintings, shown publicly for the first time), and Youngerman.

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