Roy Lichtenstein’s widow let artist pal languish in barn: lawsuit

The widow of famed pop artist Roy Lichtenstein let an artist friend languish in an unheated cottage on her Southampton estate for years, where he was harangued and sexually propositioned by her property manager, according to a lawsuit.

Christian DiLalla, 52, lived in a “dilapidated barn” on Dorothy Lichtenstein’s Sebonac Road property from June 2017 until February, when he was falsely accused of not paying rent and tossed out in the snow while recovering from Lyme disease, he charges in a Manhattan Supreme Court filing.

Lichtenstein failed to protect DiLalla from her “predatory and opportunistic” property manager, Steven Welch, who allegedly told DiLalla, “I want to spank your ass til its black and blue” and “I love that you are my daddy,” according to legal papers.

Christian Dilalla, 52, receiving treatment for Lyme disease.

Welch would turn the power and wifi on and off sporadically, took DiLalla’s packages, and allegedly intimidated his visitors, staring at one of DiLalla’s doctors while dressed in only underwear, and setting his dog loose while DiLalla’s girlfriend was visiting.

When he complained about Welch, Lichtenstein said, “I consider 180 Sebonac Steven’s domain,” according to the lawsuit.

Dorothy Lichtenstein with arms crossed, next to art
Dorothy Lichtenstein poses with one of her late husband’s artworks, in 2013.

Roy and Dorothy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein with wife, Dorothy, in 1968.

Lichtenstein, 83, allegedly knew the “filthy and falling apart” barn wasn’t up to code when she invited DiLalla to live there for $1,200 a month, he claimed, and he never reimbursed him for fixing it up.

DiLalla, who is suing Lichtenstein and Welch for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, is seeking unspecified damages.

Welch could not be reached for comment. Lichtenstein did not immediately return a message.