LOVE (Gold Face - Blue Sides)

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  • Provenance

    Morgan Art Foundation
    Opera Gallery, Paris
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “With “LOVE” it was back to the single word and also a return, after several years of paintings with the circle the dominant form, to the quartered canvas, or in this case, structure… Here the quartered field is filled with the four letters of love, as compactly and economically as possible, but with my interest in the circle still called to mind by the tilted o.” Robert Indiana

    A boldly hued iteration of the most celebrated and potent motif in the artist’s oeuvre, LOVE is a timeless sculpture that is the defining image of the pantheon of Pop Art and contemporary American culture. Variants of the present work are held in the collections of prestigious cultural institutions such as the Indianapolis Museum of Art and installed in the throbbing hearts of cosmopolitan cities, New York, London and Tokyo.

    Originally conceived as a painting to be used on a Museum of Modern Art Christmas card in 1965, the letters L.O.V.E. are at once a powerful and playful statement in three dimensions. The bold, hard-edged, flat forms and stenciled words share an aesthetic characteristic with roadside signs and signals, a lasting fixation that the artist had growing up in Depression era Indiana, where he spent years moving from home to home, being on the road in the family car as a child. As Pissarro stated, “Indiana’s art corroborates this new reliance on street and highway signage, and on its chance poetry, on the endless flux or urban messages that ceaselessly buzz in front of our eyes and brain, and on its powerful visual fascination – which these signs seem to gradually lose their referential meaning, although never quite completely.” (J. Pissarro, “Signs into Art,” Robert Indiana, New York, 2006, p. 59.) To the artist, these signs took on intangible meanings and emotions through the reduced language of graphic art and became his main source of inspiration.

    Indiana’s LOVE was an emblem of 1960s idealism, profoundly resonating with the youth culture who lived in an era dominated by the fight for civil rights, nuclear disarmament and the Vietnam War. It was a declaration which embodied the moral issues that preoccupied the time, physically epitomizing the aspirations of its social and political movements, taking its place among the many slogans which promoted the word ‘love’, such as ‘Make Love Not War’. The artist 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.” (Indiana’s Indianas: A 20-Year Retrospective of Paintings and Sculpture from the Collection of Robert Indiana, exh. cat., Rockland, The William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, 1982.)

    In the present lot, the word ‘Love’ is reduced to the simple structure of its letters, divided into a typographic placement of four stacked letters, with each monosyllable superimposed, and the tilted letter “O”, perpetually trembling on the edge of movement. Describing the work as a ‘one-word poem’, Indiana explained that "LOVE is purely a skeleton of all that word has meant in all the erotic and religious aspects of the theme, and to bring it down to the actual structure of calligraphy [is to reduce it] to the bare bone” (the artist in Theresa Brakeley, ed., Robert Indiana, New York, 1990, p. 168.) Utilising the simplicity of two colours, an attractive combination of gold and blue, and fusing it with a monumental three-dimensionality, Indiana’s LOVE possesses a powerful strength where the symbolic overtures of the word ‘Love’ resonates beyond the sculpture’s abstract qualities; thus becoming a lasting emblem of the artist’s legacy.

  • Catalogue Essay



    L.O.V.E這幾個字母樣式最初作爲一幅畫作,被用於現代藝術博物館(MOMA) 1965年的聖誕卡片上,而作爲三維雕塑亦顯得強勁有力且耐人尋味。粗體,有棱有角,平面化的形態及印刷的文字與馬路邊的標誌有異曲同工的審美特徵。成長於印第安納大蕭條時期,藝術家自幼隨着家用車四處奔波,時常搬家,因而對道路標誌有一種長期的癡迷感。正如畢沙羅所說,「印第安納的作品驗證了對於街道以及高速公路標識的全新依賴,對於其偶發性詩意的依賴,對於持續不斷浮現在我們眼前與腦海中的都市信息或無限變遷的依賴,對於充滿感染力的視覺魅力的依賴——這些標誌似乎逐漸失去他們指示作用的含義,儘管從未全然喪失。」(J. 畢沙羅,「標誌變爲藝術」,《羅伯特•印第安納》,紐約,2006年,第59頁)。於他而言,這些標誌透過其平面藝術的簡約語彙,呈現不可言喻的含義以及情感重要性,並成爲他主要的靈感來源。

    印第安納的《愛》是1960年代理想主義的象徵,與歷經爭取公民權利、解除核武器以及越南戰爭等當時的青年文化產生深刻共鳴。它是收錄困擾這個時代的道德問題的宣言,是這個時代社會與政治運動願景的縮影,從許多宣揚「愛」的標語中取材,例如「相愛,不要相戰」。藝術家說到,「我並不知道《愛》會如此流行起來。說來也奇怪,我完全沒有預期到充滿愛意的一代以及嬉皮人士。這是一個精神理念…它變成了愛的主題本身。」(《印第安納州的印第安納:羅伯特•印第安納繪畫及雕塑作品廿年回顧展》,展覽圖錄,羅克蘭,William A. Farnsworth圖書館及美術館,1982年)


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Property of a Middle Eastern Collector

LOVE (Gold Face - Blue Sides)

incised with the artist's signature, date and number '©1966-2002 R INDIANA 3/8' on the interior edge of the letter E
painted aluminum
45.7 x 45.7 x 22.8 cm. (17 7/8 x 17 7/8 x 9 in.)
Executed in 1966-2002, this work is number 3 from an edition of 8. The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the personal representative of the Estate of Robert Indiana.

HK$2,000,000 - 3,000,000 

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20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 25 November 2018