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Alka Seltzer

Depiction of comic book style cup, alka seltzer dissolving in water.
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

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  • Depiction of comic book style cup, alka seltzer dissolving in water.




Roy Lichtenstein
American, 1923-1997

About this artwork

Roy Lichtenstein had been exhibiting in galleries for nearly ten years when, in 1961, he dramatically changed the course of his work. Prompted by the comic strips on his children’s gum wrappers, he began to create paintings based on cartoon images. The reductive style that soon emerged became his particular contribution to the idiom known as Pop Art. From around 1961 until 1968, the artist created a group of highly finished black-and-white drawings that demonstrate his subversive use of commercial illustration techniques. In Alka Seltzer, Lichtenstein exploited everyday practices of visual representation and magnified them, indicating the gas bubbles rising over the glass by meticulously scraping away extra spaces from a field of imitation hand-stenciled Benday dots. To signify the reflective surface of the glass, he drew flat black graphite shapes—a parody, like the dots, of the reductive, linecut effect of pulp advertising. The artist’s use of mechanical reproduction conventions served to unify his composition and produce movement and volume on a two-dimensional surface. Alka Seltzer is one of Lichtenstein’s watershed works because it shows the artist summing up his early graphic techniques and introducing what would become his most significant formal preoccupations in the years that followed.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Roy Lichtenstein


Alka Seltzer


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Graphite and lithographic rubbing crayon pochoir, with scraping, on cream wove paper, fixed 


Signed and dated verso, in graphite: "rf Lichtenstein / 1966"


76.3 × 56.7 cm (30 1/16 × 22 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Margaret Fisher Endowment

Reference Number



© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Extended information about this artwork

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