Love & War~ May 3

Robert Indiana’s LOVE

The inspiration came from his childhood as a Christian Scientist, when the phrase “God is love” was prominent. Indiana inverted the idea to suggest that “Love is God.

The first LOVE painting was a small canvas in 1961 called 4-Star Love, which was the word “love” with four stars stacked above it and that was really the inspiration for stacking the letters.

The motif first appeared as a series of rubbings in 1964 on his personal Christmas cards.

[In 1965] MoMA asked him to design a Christmas card. Inspired by his recent painting, he chose the single word ‘love’, the letters of which he arranged on two lines to fit the card’s square format better. To create a more interesting design he angled the ‘o’. Indiana submitted several colour variations. The museum chose the one with red letters against a blue and green background.

It was inspired by a sign at a gas station. During the Depression, my father worked for Phillips 66, which had a huge sign up in the sky. I can still see that red and green sign against the blue Indiana sky. My first ”Love” was red, green and blue.

Few Pop images are more widely recognized than Indiana’s LOVE…[it]has appeared in prints, paintings, sculptures, banners, rings, tapestries, and stamps. Full of erotic, religious, autobiographical, and political underpinnings—especially when it was co-opted as an emblem of 1960s idealism—LOVE is both accessible and complex in meaning. In printed works, Indiana has rendered LOVE in a variety of colors, compositions, and techniques. He even translated it into Hebrew for a print and a sculpture at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

(Learn more by clicking on hyperlinks)

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