A simple handshake that turned into gold.

A simple handshake that turned into gold.

A folded poster is usually a no-go for auctions. But there are exceptions. Roy Lichtenstein’s rare ‘Handshake’ 1962 gallery mailer is one of them. Folded twice down to letter size, the sheet was glued together.  Castelli Gallery sent out as an invitation to its friends. These days the gallery was located in posh 4 East 77 street, between Madison and Fifth. On Saturday, Februar 10 started the first show in New York City of the hot young artist Roy Lichtenstein. It sold out.

The mailer reproduced Lichtenstein’s oil painting ‘Handshake’ from the year before. It shows the black and red components separately and then joined in the lower right panel. This describes the nature of the printing process. It is said that either the artist himself or Leo Castelli’s graphic designer had the idea. But Lichtenstein was not able to remember correctly, when being asked about it.

Properly framed as an art object, the simple invitation letter becomes an eye turner with historical importance.

1. Mary Lee Corlett, The prints of Roy Lichtenstein, a catalogue raisonné 1948-1994, appendix 1, page 322, Manchester, USA 1994
2. Jürgen Döring & Claus von der Osten, Lichtenstein Posters, page 112, Munich 2008

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