LOVE Around the World: Robert Indiana

Happy Valentine’s Day!

When I came across this photo on Pinterest, it reminded me of the famous LOVE sculpture we see so much of.

Source: Pinterest / Etsy

Do you know the one I’m talking about?

The original 3-D sculpture below was created by American artist Robert Indiana. It’s displayed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and has been since 1970.

Source: Flickr

This short YouTube video shows the sculpture being moved into place – it’s pretty interesting to see what was involved. Imagine this sculpture broken down into pieces, letters into parts… I’m amazed at just how large the LOVE sculpture actually is!

Did you know LOVE with the tilted O was originally designed as a Christmas card for MoMA in 1964? But the iconography itself first appeared in a series of poems Indiana wrote in 1958 where he stacked LO and VE on top of one another… the O of course was not tilted then.

Source: MoMA

LOVE was also turned into a postage stamp in 1973. Notice how the colours are used differently?

Source: Superfly Gallery

It sold more than 300 million copies and was, for many years, the best-selling commemorative stamp in history! Lots to love about this stamp, but seriously, 8 cents for a postage stamp – what’s not to LOVE about that?!

And did you know the LOVE sculpture has been recreated in multiple versions that can be found on display all around the world?

Here are a few of them…

LOVE – Love Park, Philadelphia

Source: Istanbul 74

LOVE – Midtown (55th St. and Sixth Ave), NYC

Source: J Stoddard Final Blog

 LOVE – Shinjuku, Tokyo

Source: World Visit Guide

LOVE – Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, England

Source: Flickr

LOVE – In the gardens at Chatsworth House

Source: Commons Wikimedia

LOVE – Blanche Levy Gardens, University of Pennsylvania

Source: And Dreams

LOVE – Scottsdale, Arizona

Source: my Tom Foster

LOVE – L’Hotel Montreal, Montreal, QC

Source: Black Cog Bicycle Blog

And this last LOVE I definitely couldn’t leave out…

LOVE – Buschlen Mowatt Gallery, Vancouver, BC

Source: Flickr

These are just a sampling of all the LOVE that’s out there!

But do you know what’s really backwards?

Source: Flickr

According to Mental Floss Blog, even thought Indiana’s LOVE spread, his name didn’t, and he had little financial gain. Indiana hadn’t wanted to disrupt his initial design with his signature or a copyright notice, which meant he had no legal protection against imitators. This resulted in his image being replicated (stolen) in countless ways. Indiana eventually copyrighted some variants of his creation, but by that time it was too late to file suit against the flood of false LOVEs on the market.

Robert Indiana has an interesting history, more than I can do justice in a recap here, but it’s worth it to read up on him. I thought Megan Wilde’s article in Mental Floss Blog was very informative. And for more on Robert Indiana you might want to check out Ro Gallery here.

One last little piece of info…

Source: If It’s Hip It’s Here Blog

Did you know that Robert Indiana was actually born Robert Clarke, and he adopted the name of his native state, Indiana, as a pseudonymous surname early in his career?

Interesting history, indeed. And thanks to Robert Indiana, we have a whole lot of LOVE spread around!

I hope you have a great day!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

THANKS FOR READING!

 xo

It’s about coming home… and home is a remarkable space that tells your story. Contact me if you need a little help!

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Comments

  1. This was so interesting Sheila. I hadn’t thought of where this LOVE sculpture ever came from. It really is everywhere! It’s really a shame that Robert didn’t get his true credit for this beautiful design.

  2. This is the best Valentine’s post ever! I love that LOVE sculpture, I actually have the poster. What a terrific round up for today! You’re fabulous :-)

  3. Good ol’ Love Park right here in Philadelphia – I had no idea as to the history of the art though. Thanks for this and now I know a little more about it. Hope you have a great day Sheila!

  4. an amazing colledtion

  5. I have to say, I LOVE the vintage L O V E letters you found better than the original sculpture (and copy sculptures & hip graphics)… I want those letters!!!! :-)
    Happy heart day to you!!
    Victoria

  6. Nice to know the origins of this piece. I actually thought MOMA was the first and could not in a million years have guessed at the artist responsible. Poor guy:(

  7. I LO
    VE

    this post Sheila. I’m familiar with this love but I thought it was only in New York. I’ve never seen the one in Vancouver. Is it still there? Crappy about the copyright stuff …… off to read more about RO Gallery. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Oh and by the way, Happy Valentine’s Day! I just got this post this morning so my subscription thingy must be a day late on your blog …… and Barbara’s for that matter.

    • No worries, Tracey. I think there was something weird going on because your last 3 comments ended up in my spam folder – and you’ve never landed there before. You’re not the only one, so who knows what tricks cyberspace, Google, whatever is up to right now?!. I’m keeping an eye on it… and thank you for the Valentine’s wishes – I hope your day was awesome, too!

  9. Interesting article! I think my favorite LOVE sculpture placement is at the fountain in “The Love Park” in Philadelphia. I would call it the “Fountain of Love”, but I guess that’s been done:) Thanks for sharing your LOVE Sheila!

  10. I love your design history lessons! Fabulous! Thanks for all of this! I had no idea the history behind that sculpture!

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