Dorothy Lichtenstein, the widow of famed American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, and Adam D. Weinberg, director of New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, today jointly announced that the painter’s Greenwich Village studio is to pass into the possession of the Whitney. The institution will use the digs, located in a repurposed metalworking shop at 741/745 Washington Street, just four blocks from its Gaansevort Street building, to house its well-respected Independent Study Program (ISP). Launched in 1968, the ISP will begin operating out of the space—its first permanent home—in 2023, the year when Lichtenstein would have turned 100. The gift reflects the artist’s exceptionally close relationship with the Whitney, which began in 1965 when his work was included in a pair of important group shows there, and stretched long past his death, with numerous solo exhibitions and the creation at the museum of the Roy Lichtenstein Study Collection devoted to his work.
“Thanks to Roy, this building has been the site for artistic and intellectual endeavors, both for himself and for the people who have long gathered here,” said Dorothy Lichtenstein. “I can’t think of a more meaningful use for the studio than for the Whitney to carry his legacy far into the future, building on and expanding the role of the Foundation in supporting contemporary art and artists.”
Lichtenstein bought the building in 1987 and used it as his studio and residence from 1988 until his death in 1997. Since then it has been occupied by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and was the site of the assembly of his archives and catalogue raisonné. Los Angeles–based architecture firm Johnston Marklee has been retained to modify the 9,000-square-foot 1912 structure to accommodate the ISP. During the summer, when the program is not running, the building will be turned over to educational initiatives, including residencies, teacher training, and teen programs.
“This is a magnificent act of generosity on the part of Dorothy Lichtenstein and the Lichtenstein Estate and is all the more meaningful because of Roy’s history with the Whitney and the many times in recent years they have extended their hand to our museum,” said Weinberg. “We’re profoundly grateful to be entrusted with this major part of New York’s cultural heritage and are excited to keep Roy’s legacy vital through the programs of our Independent Study Program, which nurtures the next generation of artists, curators, and scholars.”