stamped with the artist's signature, date 73 and number 2 on the inner side of the letter 'E'
Galerie Denise René - Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf
Acquired by the present owner from the above
Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle; Vienna, Kunsthalle, Summer of Love. Psychedelische Kunst der 60er Jahre, November 2005 - September 2006
Kleve, Museum Kurhaus; Wiesbaden, Museum, Robert Indiana: Der Amerikanische Maler der Zeichen, August 2007 - May 2008, p. 69, no. 10, illustrated in color
"Some people like to paint trees. I like to paint love. I find it more meaningful than painting trees." - Robert Indiana
In 1954, Robert Clark traded his life in New Castle, Indiana for a Coenties Slip loft with Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin and Jack Youngerman and an art supply shop on West 57th Street. It was in Manhattan that Clark found his trademark artistic style and new surname, Indiana, to match. Drawing heavily on contemporary Pop and commercial artists as well as the hard-edge and minimalist styles of his house-mates, Indiana developed an aesthetic characterized by a tension between Pop and abstraction which seemed to anticipate the looming Op-Art movement.
Indiana's LOVE paintings and sculptures are some of the most ubiquitous of Pop art culture. They have become a staple of the popular global lexicon appearing everywhere from U.S. postage stamps to rock album covers. The LOVE iconography, both formalist and sensitive, first appeared in a series of poems originally written in 1958, in which Indiana stacked LO and VE on top of one another. The first LOVE sculpture, carved out of a solid block of aluminium, was made for the artist's show at the Stable Gallery in 1966. Shortly after, Indiana was commissioned to design a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art; three small paintings of the word love in red, blue and green.
But Indiana's LOVE is not simply a cultural icon; it is a man's ground-breaking examination of the delicate abstractions in the written word. It is an exploration of language on an aesthetic visual level, a challenge to not only hear but see the expressive power of words in their lines, planes and geometric forms. Indiana is not only focused on the meaning of words but also the formal statement they make. By enlarging their letters and playing with the format in which we ordinarily see them, Indiana draws our attention to LOVE's elegant linearity and form, becoming visual melodies; each version accentuating different notes, beats and harmonies.
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