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Lichtenstein Drawing Acquired in ’65 with $10 Lottery Ticket Expected to Sell for $1 Million

by WorthPoint Staff (04/05/11).

This pencil and crayon drawing on paper was a lottery prize in 1965. The owner paid $10 for the lottery ticket and found the prize in a locker at Pennsylvania Station in New York. It is going up for auction at Christie’s next month and is expected to sell for $1 million or more.

NEW YORK – In a tale that could inspire anyone to collect art no matter the budget, a crayon and pencil drawing by the American Pop Art master Roy Lichtenstein, won by way of a $10 lottery ticket in 1965, will be offered at the Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale at Christie’s on May 11 and is expected to realize more than one million dollars.

“Drawing for Kiss V” (estimated to sell for between $800,000-$1,200,000), rendered in graphite and wax crayon on paper, is the original drawing for Lichtenstein’s masterpiece painting “Kiss V” of 1964 and belongs to the artist’s most celebrated series of iconic portraits of comic-book-style dream-girls that he created between 1961 and 1965.

The drawing was acquired by the present owner at one of the legendary “Happenings” organized by the Artists’ Key Club—a group formed by a leading group of emerging pop artists in the early 1960s. The invitation for the event instructed participants to convene at the Hotel Chelsea in New York and register in a lottery in return for a key to a locker at Penn Station, famously undergoing renovation in 1965. Inside each of these lockers was a work that had been donated by artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, Arman, Christo, Niki de Saint-Phalle and Andy Warhol. The present owner bought their lottery ticket for $10 and that evening in March of 1965 found this masterpiece in their locker. “Drawing for Kiss V” has remained in the same New York private collection for more than 45 years and is a unique piece of history that captures the remarkable aesthetic and cultural zeitgeist of the New York art world at a time of revolutionary change.

“Drawing for Kiss V is a master work created by Roy Lichtenstein in 1964, while at the height of his creative powers,” said Jonathan Laib, Post-War and Contemporary Art Specialist at Christies.
“Lichtenstein has succeeded in producing in this very small work a statement that traps the viewer in a voyeuristic gaze. Through the use of a shallow pictorial space Lichtenstein intensifies the dramatic events within; As a viewer we are violating an intimate and perhaps even violent moment between two lovers in an ambiguous situation that registers somewhere between agony and ecstasy.

Laib goes on to say that “in this incredible drawing, Lichtenstein accomplishes much of what defines his greatest works; the lingering effects of this drawing are lasting, it finds its way into the crevices of the mind and lingers freezing time to create experience. Though small in scale this drawing packs a punch that is much larger than its physical limitations.”

In November 2010, Lichtenstein’s masterpiece “Oh… Alright…” sold for $42.6 million, setting the world record price for the artist at auction. The world record price for a work on paper by the artist was established at Christie’s London in June 2010 when “Collage for Nude with Red Shirt” sold for $4,451,217.

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