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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist; Private collection, Europe

  • Exhibited

    Knokke, Belgium, Galerie Guy Pieters, Robert Indiana, peintures récentes, 2001

  • Literature

    Galerie Guy Pieters, ed., Robert Indiana, Peintures Récentes, Knokke, 2001

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I am an American artist” is what Robert Indiana declared in the late 1950s. This statement determines his position and attitude towards his artwork which proclaims an ‘Americana’ prominence through its typography, word messages, simple geometry, and cult-images, such as the Marilyn Monroe seen in the present lot titled Norma Jean Loved of 2000 (Perlein, p.10). Indiana’s work is triumphantly American embodying the American Dream ideals of youth, possibility, and optimism.
    In Norma Jean Loved, a tondo with black, stenciled letters frames the naked torso of Marilyn Monroe. Guiding the viewer’s focus on her figure is the presence of a five-pointed purple star that fits within the circle and serves as a back-drop to Marilyn. Her most prominent features – wavy golden hair and bright, red lips – contrast nicely with her fair skin tone and bring the viewer’s attention right away to Marilyn’s most famously known characteristics. Although the painting pays homage to the star as a beloved figure of 1950s American pop culture, it also portrays Marilyn as a sex icon and a 1950s pin-up girl.While popular images of Marilyn generally portray her clothed, Indiana takes the risk of representing her in the nude.
    As evidenced in the present lot, Indiana’s paintings have a commercial quality to them in which they have their “origin in the Pop register of the sign, billboard, and logo. [Indiana] partakes of the history of an entire nation by creating uniquely American blazons based on the Star-Spangled Banner or the cult-images of Marilyn Monroe and the Brooklyn Bridge” (ibid). Norma Jean Loved appears more like an advertisement due to its flat, vivid colors and its carefully measured composition.The square painting is also tilted on its side further enhancing its appearance as a sign or billboard.


Norma Jean Loved

Oil on canvas.
47 5/8 x 47 5/8 in. (121 x 121 cm).

Stamped “Indiana 00” on the reverse. 

$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for $482,500

Contemporary Art Part I

13 Nov 2008, 7pm
New York