Robert Indiana - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Morgan Art Foundation
    Private Collection, Switzerland

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I am very much impressed and I have always been impressed how with a little concentration and a little mental exercise, if one concentrates long enough on a word or figure, it’s very easy to lose the conscious grasp of what that is, and one can look at a word, after concentrating on it for a while, one has almost forgotten what that word is. And I should like in a way this to be a part of my work too.” (Robert Indiana, in Robert Indiana: Paintings and Sculpture 1961-2003, London, 2004, p. 12)

    LOVE is a pivotal sculpture by the internationally acclaimed artist Robert Indiana and is the most potent of all Indiana’s imagery. Its bold aesthetic and direct message has achieved global appeal. Indiana is a selfpronounced “painter of signs” (Joachim Pissaro, Signs into Art, New York, 2006, p.55). However, LOVE transcends this definition – it is a sculptural poem with undeniable presence. The construction was first created as a painting to be used on a Museum of Modern Art Christmas card in 1964, and since then, its distinguished design and immediate message has come to symbolize the ideals of an era. LOVE was first produced in sculptural form in 1966.

    LOVE profoundly resonated with the youth culture of the sixties. LOVE was a declaration which embodied the moral issues that preoccupied the generation. LOVE physically embodied the aspirations of social and political movement of the time and took its place among the many slogans which promoted the word ‘love’, such as ‘Make Love Not War’.

    In the present lot, the word love is pared back, reduced to the simple structure of its letters. It consists of the (now iconic) typographic placement of four stacked letters with a tilted letter O, perpetually trembling on the edge of movement. Consequently, the ingenious composition of LOVE simultaneously represents strength and
    precariousness. It possesses a powerful simplicity of colour fused with monumental three-dimensionality. This work stands at almost two metres and employs a bold and attractive combination of red faces and blue sides. Despite the work’s modular clarity and simplicity of form, the symbolic overtures of the word ‘love’ resonate beyond the sculpture’s abstract qualities. As Indiana has suggested, “In a sense, I got down to the subject matter of my work … the subject is defined by its expression in the word itself … 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 the calligraphy (is to reduce it) to the bare bones” (T. Brakeley, ed., Robert Indiana, New York, 1990, p. 166).


LOVE (Red faces Blue sides),

Polychrome aluminum
182.9 x 182.9 x 91.4 cm (72 x 72 x 35 7/8 in)
Incised ‘R Indiana 6/6’ lower side. This work is number six from an edition of six
plus four artist’s proofs.

£600,000 - 800,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

10 October 2012