In the Car

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In the Car
In the Car.jpg
ArtistRoy Lichtenstein
MovementPop art
Dimensions172 cm × 203.5 cm (67.75 in × 80.125 in)
LocationScottish National Gallery of Modern Art 1 of 2 copies

In the Car (sometimes Driving)[1] is a 1963 pop art painting by Roy Lichtenstein. The smaller, older of the two versions of this painting formerly held the record for highest auction price for a Lichtenstein painting. The larger version has been in the collection of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh since 1980.[2][3][4]


The source for In the Car was Girls' Romances number 78 (September 1961).

The painting is based on the September 1961 comic book series Girls' Romances edition #78 published by Signal Publishing Corp.[5] The painting was part of Lichtenstein's second solo exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery from September 28 to October 24, 1963 that included Drowning Girl, Torpedo...Los!, Baseball Manager, Conversation, and Whaam![6][7] Marketing materials for the show included the lithograph artwork, Crak![8][9]

The smaller version, which was the original version, from the estate of Roy Lichtenstein and consigned by his son Mitchell Lichtenstein, was sold in 2005.[4] On November 8, 2005, it surpassed the previous Lichtenstein work record auction price of $7.1 million set when Happy Tears sold three years earlier (November 13, 2002). In the Car sold for $16.2 million at Christie's auction house in New York City.[10][11] In November 2010, this figure was surpassed when Ohhh...Alright... was sold for a record US $42.6 million (£26.7 million), also at Christie's in New York.[12] The hammer price was $38 million.[13]


Lichtenstein in 1967

After 1972, Lichtenstein's comics-based women "look hard, crisp, brittle, and uniformly modish in appearance, as if they all came out of the same pot of makeup." This particular example is one of several that is cropped so closely that the hair flows beyond the edges of the canvas.[14] As with most of his early romance comics, this consisted of "a boy and a girl" subject.[15] It is described as a tense, melodramatic graphic single-frame depiction of a romantic dialogue between a man and woman.[4] Lichtenstein used horizontal parallel lines to convey the sense of motion.[16] A November 1963 Art Magazine review stated that this was one of the "broad and powerful paintings" of the 1963 exhibition at Castelli's Gallery.[7]

In the early 1960s, Lichtenstein produced several "fantasy drama" paintings of women in love affairs with domineering men causing the women to be miserable, such as Drowning Girl, Hopeless and In the Car. These works served as prelude to 1964 paintings of innocent "girls next door" in a variety of tenuous emotional states.[17] "In the Car evokes a mood of resignation, with silence apparently prevailing as the woman stares stonily out the window."[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pierre, José. An Illustrated Dictionary of Pop Art. Eyre Methuen. p. 89. ISBN 0-413-38370-9.
  2. ^ "Lichtenstein Roy: In the Car". The Art Book. Phædon Press. 1994. p. 274. ISBN 0-7148-2984-6.
  3. ^ "Roy Lichtenstein > In the Car". Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c "Roy Lichtenstein: In the Car: 1963". Christie's. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  5. ^ "In the Car". Lichtenstein Foundation. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  6. ^ "Chronology". Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Archived from the original on June 6, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Judd, Donald. "Reviews 1962–64". In Bader. pp. 2–4. Whaam!, Torpedo...LOS!, Conversation, In the Car and I Don't Care, I'd Rather Sink, are all broad and powerful paintings. (Castelli, Sept. 28 – Oct. 24.) Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Search Result: Crak!". Lichtenstein Foundation. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  9. ^ Lobel, Michael (2009). "Technology Envisioned: Lichtenstein's Monocularity". In Bader, Graham. Roy Lichtenstein. MIT Press. pp. 118–20. ISBN 978-0-262-01258-4.
  10. ^ Melikian, Souren (November 10, 2005). "Record $22.4 million paid for a Rothko". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  11. ^ Kelly, Tara (November 11, 2010). "Lichtenstein Tops Warhol in Auction". Time. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  12. ^ "Roy Lichtenstein painting fetches $42.6m at auction". News. BBC. November 11, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  13. ^ "In the Saleroom: Roy Lichtenstein's Ohhh...Alright..., 1964". Christie’s. November 11, 2010. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  14. ^ Coplans 1971, p. 23: ‘Very often a head is cropped to such an extent that the hair flows outside the borders of the format...’
  15. ^ Coplans 1972, p. 40: ‘The earlier images, particularly The Engagement Ring (1961), The Kiss III, Eddie Diptych, Masterpiece (all 1962), In the Car (1963), and Tenison (1964) consist of two figures, the majority being a boy and a girl connected by romantic dialogue and action.’
  16. ^ Foster, Hal. "Pop Pygmalion". In Bader. p. 153. ...for example, parallel lines might signify 'mirror' if they are diagonal, as in Mirror no. 1 (1971), and 'motion,' say if they are horizontal, as in In the Car (1963). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ Waldman 1993, p. 113: "In other paintings by Lichtenstein, women are engaged in a series of fantasy dramas. Hopeless (fig. 104), Drowning Girl (fig. 106), and In the Car (fig. 103), all from 1963, and We Rose Up Slowly (fig. 108), 1964, revolve around love affairs in which the men are clearly in control and the women are usually depicted as miserable. These paintings set the state for a series of "girls" in various states of apparent anxiety, nervouseness, or fear, most of whom are portrayed as "the girl next door" or the innocent seductress, as in Blonde Waiting (fig. 112), Oh, Jeff...I Love You, Too...But... (fig. 111), Good Morning Darling, and Seductive Girl, all from 1964. The women protagonists in these dramas enact scenes filled with fabricated emotions."
  18. ^ Waldman 1993, p. 113 The painting gives off a feeling of chilly emotions between the man and the woman in the car.
  19. ^ Kimmelman. "Roy... Lichtenstein... At... The... Met". Lichtenstein Foundation. Archived from the original on June 27, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2013.


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