Roy Lichtenstein Market Watch 2023

Nude With Blue Hair by Roy Lichtenstein - MyArtBrokerNude With Blue Hair © Roy Lichtenstein 1994
Rebecca Marsham

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Roy Lichtenstein, the renowned Godfather of Pop, recognised for his distinctive use of Ben-Day dots to recreate the vibrant world of comic books, remains a focal point of our analysis. In this extensive market analysis, we delve into Lichtenstein's retrospective market performance in 2023, examine his five-year track record, emphasise the increasing momentum, spotlight his top-selling and investment-worthy prints of the year, dissect prevailing market trends, and offer a glimpse into what we can anticipate in 2024.

Discover Lichtenstein's dominant presence in the 2023 art market in The Art Investment Report. Explore the most investable prints from Lichtenstein's trending series on the MAB100 Print Market Index.


Stacked bar graph displaying the five-year quarterly performance of Roy Lichtenstein's art market. The graph shows the total print sales for each yearly quarter, represented by different colored bars, along with the transaction volume of sales. The data spans from 2017 to 2023.Lichtenstein Quarterly Print Sales and Transaction Volume, 2017 - 2023 © MyArtBroker 2023


One intriguing aspect of Lichtenstein’s market is the consistent strength in sales volume, which doesn't always align with the highest average selling prices (ASPs). Over the five-year period, Q2 and Q4 consistently exhibit robust performances, resulting in impressive comprehensive turnovers year-on-year (YoY). However, Q2 of 2022 stands out with a yearly total sales figure of £1.8 million (hammer), showing a significant -77% deviation from the current status in 2023. While the upcoming June auction sales will affect Q2's performance in 2023, surpassing the previous year's results without a seven-figure sale appears unlikely at this stage.

Double line graph representing the art market performance of Roy Lichtenstein over the past five years. The graph displays two lines, one indicating the yearly sales turnover and the other representing the yearly transaction volume. The data ranges from 2017 to 2023.Lichtenstein Total Print Sales x Volume, 2017 - 2023 © MyArtBroker 2023


Despite experiencing negative fluctuations, Lichtenstein’s market displays a pattern of YoY corrections in total sales and ASPs. Remarkably, his ASP rebounded by 78% in 2019 and an impressive 166% in 2021, a year that also boasted the second-highest sales volume over the five-year period. High ASPs in correlation with a large sales volume indicate strong demand and supply activity. This correlation highlights that the artworks sold in those years held significant financial value. Nevertheless, Lichtenstein’s enduring appeal and marketability remain evident, with an average selling price compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.51%. While this figure may seem comparatively lower than other American Pop Artists, it still represents significant growth that would yield a positive return over an extended holding period.

Download THE AMERICAN POP REPORT for in-depth insights into Lichtenstein's print market, along with comprehensive analysis of market trends spanning the past five years.

A double line graph illustrating the yearly fluctuations in the average selling price of artworks in Roy Lichtenstein's art market over the past five years, from 2017 to 2023. The graph also includes the corresponding percentages indicating the change in the average selling price for each year.Lichtenstein ASP x YoY, 2017 - 2023 © MyArtBroker 2023


Lichtenstein Auction Performance

Recent May 2023 auctions have once again demonstrated Lichtenstein's ability to achieve significant seven-figure sales for his paintings. A standout example is the successful sale of Water Lily Pond With Reflections (1992) at Sotheby’s, exceeding its high pre-sale estimate. While it is too early to predict the exact course of Lichtenstein’s market performance for the rest of 2023, the high YoY sales volume over the past five years suggests the potential for significant sales in the remaining quarters. Notably, Q4 has consistently generated the highest overall turnover.

Furthermore, Lichtenstein is currently a revolving topic in the media. A recently released documentary titled “WHAAM! BLAAM!’’ boldly explores Lichtenstein's art of appropriation, a subject that has long sparked contentious debates in art history. Nonetheless, Lichtenstein is not the first artist to stir controversy and won't be the last. Additionally, as the artist’s 100th birthday nears in October of this year, The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation will be gifting nearly 200 works to various esteemed museums. These topical events typically propel an artist’s market and also present the opportunity that one of those works will inevitably hit the secondary market.

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The Lichtenstein Market Recap 2023

Roy Lichtenstein’s market performance in 2023 was largely fuelled by the prolific output of his works. Over the past five years, Lichtenstein’s sales volume has displayed an impressive upward trend, with only a minor dip of -19% in 2020, which pales in comparison to the 14% surge in sales volume witnessed in 2023. This year, his market recorded an impressive 260 successful sales.

Lichtenstein’s quarterly total sales output exhibited remarkable consistency compared to the five previous years, with Q2 and Q4 emerging as standout quarters throughout the year, each contributing to a total sales in the seven-figure range. What’s even more noteworthy is that Lichtenstein’s market and influential presence appeared to defy economic challenges, resulting in a total sales of £7.6 million (hammer). This figure represents a remarkable 19% increase from the total sales in 2022 and is 13% higher than the figures recorded in 2021.

It’s worth highlighting that the total sales for Lichtenstein’s 2023 print market reflect the second-highest result within the last five-year period compared to the record high achieved in 2019, marking £8.9 million (hammer). This result signals a significant upward trajectory in his market performance.


Lichtenstein’s robust sales volume aligns with the abundance of prints and diverse series within his extensive oeuvre. In Q1, two significant sales from Lichtenstein’s Bull Profile series took place at Sotheby’s and Bonhams in March. These sales demonstrated an ASP of $139,287 (USD) between them. A standout sale in June, and first-time appearance in 2023, was I Love Liberty (1982), capturing the essence of American spirit inherent in Pop Art, which realised £57,150. While Water Lily Pond With Reflections (1992) remains Lichtenstein’s top-selling print work from 2023, achieving $1.8 million (USD) at Sotheby’s New York, there were other prolific sales that indicated trends that are anticipated to persist into 2024.


Undoubtedly, Lichtenstein’s most celebrated series throughout 2023 was his Nudes series, created in 1994 consisting of seven works. Entering Q2, Nude With Blue Hair commanded attention realising $762,000 (USD) with fees at Sotheby’s New York, marking the second-highest price ever achieved for this artwork. Nude Reading, also sold at Sotheby’s and Phillips New York sales in April, fetching $165,100 (USD) and $203,200 (USD), respectively.

Continuing to assert their popularity in Q3, Two Nudes, fetched £254,000 at Phillips setting a new auction record. In Q4 alone, four works from this series made notable appearances, marking the highest sales volume for any quarter during the auction calendar. Among these, Nude Reading took the spotlight, with the highest sale fetching $126,000 (USD) at William Doyle New York and Nude With Yellow Pillow appeared in Phillips New York as an Artist Proof (AP) selling for $546,100 (USD), becoming the star lot of the sale and setting a new auction record for this print.


Lichtenstein’s works from the 1960s present an intriguing categorisation. While they still prominently feature his iconic female muse, these pieces are more indicative of his early artistic development. However, it was his later works, specifically those from the 1990s, that appeared to be the preferred choice among collectors in 2023. Nonetheless, these 1960s creations continue to command significant prices, and their demand has remained strong throughout the year.

In Q2 at Sotheby’s New York, Crying Girl (1963) and Shipboard Girl (1965) achieved $53,340 (USD) and $48,260 (USD), respectively. Also gracing the auction stage in Q4 sales was The Melody Haunts My Reverie (1965), which achieved $158,750 (USD) at Phillips New York. Although these sales did not set auction records, they were strong and aligned with other robust sales from Lichtenstein’s 1960s period.

Landscapes, Moonscapes and Seascapes

Additionally, Lichtenstein’s Landscapes, Moonscapes, Seascapes series garnered attention throughout 2023. His artistic reinterpretation of landscape settings demonstrated not only the enduring appeal of women in his works but also the versatility of his artistic practice.

Among these works, Moonscape (C. 212) (1985) appeared in Q2 at Bonhams New York selling for $164,175 (USD); setting an auction record and also ranking among Lichtenstein’s top-selling works for 2023. Additionally, Seascape (1985) emerged at Phillips New York in Q4, climbing just above its series counterpart achieving a record price of $165,100 (USD) and also ranking among Lichtenstein’s top-selling works for 2023. Given the breadth of this series, it is expected that these pieces will resurface and continue to capture attention in 2024.

Forms In Space by Roy Lichtenstein - Sotheby's 2023Image © Sotheby's / Forms in Space © Roy Lichtenstein 1985
“Lichtenstein was interested in the immediacy of the image. He wanted it to be the first thing you saw and, in many ways, the last thing you thought about.”
Jeff Koons


Lichtenstein's impact continues to resonate strongly in the latter part of 2023. His print market boasts a historically high transaction volume across diverse series, catering to varied preferences. From his early series, created in the 1960s, he continued to advance his experimentation with different print techniques, blending painted swathes and Ben-Day dot methods. The latest top sales data for October underscores the enduring popularity of his Reflections series and his Nudes collection.


Water Lily Pond With Reflections

As part of one of Lichtenstein's later print series, Water Lilies, created in 1992, featuring works as a reinterpretation of Claude Monet's iconic impressionist painting Nymphéas. Composed of six screenprints on stainless steel, these pieces have gained immense popularity in the 2023 market, blending Lichtenstein's art historical knowledge with expressive pop art techniques through diverse mediums.

Water Lily Pond With Reflections (1992) reached new heights in May 2023, selling for £1,504,691 (with fees). This marked its first appearance in a western auction since 2014 when it sold for £278,111 (with fees). This recent sale in early 2023 represents a remarkable increase in value, 5.41 times, highlighting the competitive investment potential for Lichtenstein's print market.


Nude With Blue Hair

In 2023, one of Lichtenstein's most revered print series, Nudes, contributed to his second highest-selling print of the year. Nude With Blue Hair (1994) presents a close-up cropped portrait of a topless woman with tasseled blue hair, her sultry stare engaging the viewer, her arm gracefully raised to her forehead. Lichtenstein's Nude series, celebrated for its quintessential comic book aesthetic, has remained highly sought-after in the art market throughout the year, commanding competitive prices.

This particular work, embodying Lichtenstein's iconic style, sold for £612,472 (with fees) in April 2023, reflecting its universal appeal and the enduring popularity of this series.


Nude With Yellow Pillow

Nude With Yellow Pillow (1994) is also part of Lichtenstein's renowned Nudes series. While his comic book-inspired female renditions are widely appreciated, it's the Nudes collection that has been making waves throughout 2023, consistently establishing new records. This particular artwork, sold as an Artist Proof at Phillips New York auction in October, emerged as the standout lot, setting a fresh record by selling for £449,111 (with fees). We eagerly anticipate if these prints will maintain their dominance into 2024.


Two Nudes

In Two Nudes (1994), a part of Lichtenstein's renowned Nudes series, diverges from traditional portraiture. Instead, Lichtenstein delves into voyeurism, capturing two alluring women in the intimate setting of a home. One woman, depicted in monochrome Ben-Day dots, lies on her stomach on the bed, her face concealed. The other, portrayed in coloured Ben-Day dots, reveals the hues of her skin as she sits on the bed.

This interplay of monochrome and colour showcases Lichtenstein's mastery of tones, creating a scene reminiscent of a comic book script, yet open to interpretation. Unlike many of his female-centric works that often depict damsels in distress, Two Nudes allows viewers to draw their own conclusions. Rare and appearing only once in 2023, the piece fetched £254,000 (with fees) in September, securing its position as the third-highest selling print in Lichtenstein's 2023 sales. Its previous appearance in 2020 commanded £162,500 (with fees), indicating a remarkable 56% increase in sales value.


Reflections On Crash

Reflections On Crash (1990) belongs to Lichtenstein's renowned Reflections series, showcasing the artist's ambition and curiosity as he reimagines conventional images through a glass lens. In a triumphant comeback, this artwork achieved a record-breaking sale of £167,164 at Bonhams in October 2023, surpassing its performance in the two previous sales in 2022.


Our value index blends public auction data and private sales data from our collectors network. Our market value index uses artwork & artist data and a Repeat-Sales Regression (RSR) approach. Using the sale price of individual prints to estimate the fluctuations in the value of an average representative print over a unique period of time.

Our algorithm tracks over 48,500 auction histories & our own private sales data across 3,500 artworks spanning 30 years, including signed, unsigned, APs, PPs, TPs and sets of prints & editions.

We use several metrics when comparing artists:

  1. Market Size: the total value in sales in £GBP over a given period.
  2. Transaction Volume: the total number of sales over a given period
  3. Average Sales Price (ASP): the average price of a sale over a given period.
  4. Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR): a measurement used to smoothen the annual growth rate over a given period.
  5. Year-on-Year (YoY): a direct comparison between the latest year and the previous year.
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