There are many in comic books who consider Roy Lichtenstein a thief. A fraud. A man who took other people’s work and made millions off them, an artistic crook of the highest order. The Rob Granito of the sixties.
I disagree though, I do find Roy’s work a transformative artistic act. Credit, some money for the original artists, would have been a morally preferable decision on his part, but his work transformed the way comic books and art would be viewed, to the extent that Marvel even started calling their comics Pop Art to get on the bandwagon.
Still, even I am surprised at the massive difference between the sale of these two pieces of art. “I Can See The Whole Room!… And There’s Nobody In It!” by Roy Lichtenstein, selling for $43,202,500.
And the original art that contained that panel, selling for $430, from William Overgard‘s work for the strip Steve Roper.
That means the Lichenstein is selling for ten million percent of the original’s price.
Although, ironically, the Lichenstein piece was originally sold for around $450 back in the sixties. So it’s not as if Lichtenstein got rich off the art – not this piece at least.
In other related news, John Byrne reacted to the news that a page of his Uncanny X-Men, from the Death Of Phoenix issue, sold for $65,000 by pointing out;
That’s more than three complete issues, pencils, inks, script, that the buyer could have commissioned me to do. Original. Just for him/her.