The J. Paul Getty Museum

Three Brushstrokes

Object Details


Three Brushstrokes


Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923 - 1997)






Painted aluminum

Object Number:



308.6 × 72.4 × 100.3 cm, 239.0456 kg (121 1/2 × 28 1/2 × 39 1/2 in., 527 lb.)


© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Credit Line:

Gift of Fran and Ray Stark

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Object Description

In this sculpture, painting's basic building block, the brushstroke, has been playfully transformed into an oversized, three-dimensional form. Made from aluminum, three vertical "strokes" of pure color are frozen in space and rise to a height of more than ten feet. One edge of the yellow brushstroke cuts through the dominant stroke of black and blue; the yellow also curves into a diminutive stroke of red paint.

Each brushstroke is a fully realized three-dimensional form that, somewhat implausibly, allows the viewer to experience a stroke of paint from different vantage points. The sculpture humorously reminds us that paint is literally three-dimensional.

Roy Lichtenstein first explored brushstrokes as a subject in a series of paintings initiated in 1965. As with many of his works, he used a comic book source--a panel of an artist at work from Strange Suspense Stories--as the basis for his brushstrokes. The subject became one of the artist's most recognizable images and he would return regularly to the brushstroke motif for more than thirty years. In the early 1980s, Lichtenstein began creating sculptural brushstrokes.

- 1989

Leo Castelli Gallery, sold to Fran and Ray Stark, December, 1989.

1989 - 1992

Fran Stark and Ray Stark, upon the death of Fran Stark, retained by her husband, Ray Stark, 1992.

1992 - 2004

Ray Stark, upon his death, distributed to the Ray Stark Revocable Estate.

2004 - 2005

The Ray Stark Revocable Trust, donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Pop for the People: Roy Lichtenstein in L.A. (October 7, 2016 to March 13, 2017)
  • Skirball Museum (Los Angeles), October 7, 2016 to March 13, 2017

Boström, Antonia, ed. The Fran and Ray Stark Collection of 20th-Century Sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008), pp. 94-97, no. 12, entry by Christopher Bedford.