165
165
Robert Indiana
ASPEN LOVE
Estimate
700,000900,000
LOT SOLD. 879,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
165
Robert Indiana
ASPEN LOVE
Estimate
700,000900,000
LOT SOLD. 879,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York

Robert Indiana
1928 - 2018
ASPEN LOVE
stenciled with the artist's initials and date ASPEN 1968 on the reverse of one canvas 
oil on canvas, in four parts
each: 12 by 12 in. 30.5 by 30.5 cm.
overall: 24 by 24 in. 61 by 61 cm.
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This work is being considered for inclusion in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings and Sculpture being prepared by Simon Salama-Caro.

Provenance

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Henry K. DeBoest, Indianapolis (acquired from the artist in 1968)
Private Collection, Florida (by descent from the above)
Doyle, New York, 1 November 2016, Lot 170
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

Exhibited

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Alumni Painting and Sculpture 1945 to the Present, October - December 1976, fig. 42, illustrated
Indianapolis Museum of Art; South Bend, University of Notre Dame, Mirages of Memory: 200 Years of Indiana Art, January - February 1977

Literature

Joanne Doublass, "Mirages of Memory," The Star Press, November 14, 1976, p. B10
Mary Lou Jones, "Robert Indiana and the Big M," Midwest Art, November 1977, p. 16, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Robert Indiana’s Aspen Love from 1968 is instantly recognizable and universally appealing for its power to stand as a monument to the artist’s iconic oeuvre. Indiana first explored the Love motif in 1966, just two years before the present work was painted, and quickly gained popularity among the rise of hippie culture and the 'free love' zeitgeists that characterized the 1960s and 1970s. Indiana produced many variations on Love across all media, including painting, sculpture and prints, many of which are now proudly displayed in public parks and permanent museum collections such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. 

Born as Robert Clark in the state of Indiana, the artist found his way to downtown New York in 1954 where he quickly settled in the Coenties Slip alongside artists like Ellsworth Kelly, Jack Youngerman, Agnes Martin and Lenore Tawney. Together these visionary artists were bound by a deep commitment to exploring form and the relationship between space, curves and edges in abstract shapes, taking their inspiration from the raw, industrial materials and commercial signage that was abound at the Slip. There is a sense of hard-edged and abstract beauty in the composition of Aspen Love in which the white Serif letters assert themselves against the flat, chromatic background of bright orange and sunny yellow. The strict 90 degree angles of L's and E's anchor the composition while the O's meet at the center, adding to the kaleidoscopic nature of the work. Upon deeper visual engagement, the legibility of the letters and familiar four-letter word they comprise recedes into abstraction, becoming an array of organic, flattened shapes. The tension between the ‘background’ or ‘foreground’ of jaunty orange and yellow and the precisely executed forms creates an endlessly engaging and dynamic visual experience inspired by the colors of the changing leaves glowing in the Aspen sun.

When recalling the birth of the Love series, the artist referred to memories of his childhood in Indiana, the state whose name he adopted as his own in 1958. His early church attendance provided a crucial source of inspiration: "The reason I became so involved in [art] is that [the church] was so much a part of the peculiar American environment, particularly in my own background, which was Christian Scientist. 'God is Love' is spelled out in every church" (Robert Indiana quoted in Theresa Brakely, Ed., Robert Indiana, New York 1990, p. 154). Indeed, in the first appearance of the word 'Love' within Indiana’s oeuvre—a painting entitled Love is God from 1964—Indiana cleverly inverted the religious message that had made such a powerful impression on him as a young artist. Shortly thereafter, the quadrilateral Love motif emerged within Indiana’s work, rapidly becoming emblematic of the 'Love Generation.' Aspen Love also reveals a Pop Art sensibility in its graphic impact and sign-like quality that recalls both New York artists such as Andy Warhol and West Coast artists like Ed Ruscha.

Of the incredible fame of this icon that has transcended cultures and languages, Indiana has said, "I had no idea Love would catch on the way it did. Oddly enough, I wasn't thinking at all about anticipating the Love generation and hippies. It was a spiritual concept...It's become the very theme of love itself" (Exh. Cat., Rockland, Maine, The William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum (and traveling), Indiana’s Indianas, 1982, p. 8).

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York