From the November 15 Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction in New York

LOVE (Red Faces Blue Sides), 1966-2000

stamped '© 1966-2000 R INDIANA AP 2/4' and with the Milgo/Bufkin foundry mark (on the interior edge of the "E")
polychrome aluminium

36 x 36 x 18 in.
91.4 x 91.4 x 45.7 cm

Conceived in 1966 and executed in 2000, this work is artist's proof number two from an edition of six, plus four artist's proofs.
Morgan Art Foundation, Switzerland (acquired directly from the artist).
Private Collection, New York.
Galerie Guy Pieters, Belgium.
Private Collection, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.

This work will be included in the forthcoming Robert Indiana catalogue raisonné of paintings and sculpture being prepared by Simon Salama-Caro.

Redefining the contemporary visual lexicon, Robert Indiana's LOVE motif is the product of a career driven to define the essence of the Pop movement. His incorporation of prototypical phrases, numbers and colours within his early combine-line constructions hint at the artist's innate and singular control of universal representation and imagery – a mastery of signs and symbols that fellow Pop artists Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann and Roy Lichtenstein would also strive to make their own.

Conceived in 1966 and executed in 2000, Indiana's LOVE remains a stellar example of the amalgamation of typography, graphic design and artistic sentiment. Inspired by one of the forefathers of Surrealism and principal poets of the 20th century, Indiana looked to Guillaume Apollinaire's daring approach towards visual poetry when initially conceptualising his first notions of LOVE.

The present work, with its stacked glossy letters gracefully balancing atop one another, pulses with Indiana's signature turquoise and fire-engine red. This configuration, both abstract in structure yet undeniably recognisable, is both intimate and inclusive, assertive and inviting. Each letter appears comfortably settled amongst each other, nestled in such a way that echoes the true sentiments of the word. When asked to unpack his motivation behind LOVE, Indiana states:

"The "LOVE Sculpture" is the culmination of ten years of work based on the original premise that the word is an appropriated and usable element of art, just as Picasso and the Cubists made use of it at the beginning of the century, which evolved inevitably, in both my "LOVE" paintings and sculpture, into the concept that the word is also a fit and viable subject for art.

For me it was the drawing of a circle back to the beginnings of my known work, which were the wooden constructions that I started in the fifties. I thought of myself as a painter and a poet and became a sculptor because the raw materials were lying outside my studio door on the lower Manhattan waterfront. The old beams from the demolished warehouses cut down and sat upright as stelae had the breadth to bear just one word, such as "Moon" or "Orb," or "Soul" and "Mate," as did some of my first word paintings, i.e. the diptych panels "Eat" and "Die," but the sheer expanse of the wide canvases led to the proliferation of the word and whole passages and wheels of words appeared.

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. An earlier preoccupation, it is manifest in the Museum of Modern Art's "American Dream," which originally had no words, no numbers, no stars nor stripes, but four discs arranged on a structured field.

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."1

— Robert Indiana

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