Robert Indiana Prints
Robert Indiana is held as one of the most prominent figures of American art of 1960s. He was instrumental in developing the Pop art, hard-edge painting and assemblage art.
Originally named as Robert Clark, Indiana was born on 13th September, 1928 in New Castle in Indiana. He was an infant who was adopted and he spent his childhood travelling throughout the state of Indiana. He had an inclination towards art right from his childhood. His artistic talent was recognized by his first grade tutor, who was also responsible for his decision of taking up art as a career. In 1942, Indiana joined the Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis and graduated in fine arts. After graduation he joined the U.S. Air Force where he spent 3 years. Later he studied at several art colleges such as the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in Maine, the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland and the Art Institute of Chicago. He returned to US in the year 1954 and settled in New York. In 1958, the painter changed his surname from Clark to Indiana because he wanted to feel rooted to his native land Indiana, situated in the American Midwest.
Indiana started with a series of his paintings in the year 1961; these paintings displayed his strong sense of graphic designing, his desire for symmetry and changing nature of American advertising. His paintings were often critical of political excesses and consumer tendencies of the American culture. His images were a combination of stenciled numbers and text with bright colored fields.
His “The Calumet” and “The Melville” had references from American Literacy and were displayed for the first time in his solo exhibition held in New York in the year 1962. In the year 1964, Indiana designed for the New York World’s Fair; he created a “EAT” sign about 20 feet long comprising of flash lights and a “silent portrait” of himself.
The year 1966 was a turning point in the artist’s career with the huge success of his masterpiece called “Love.” Love has been a central theme of Indiana’s works. Later he created many works in different media (such as sculptures) with his patent Love design and became a Pop icon in the 1960s. On the Valentine’s Day (14th February) of 1973, his design was issued as a ‘commemorative stamp’ by the US Postal service.
Indiana was considered as the leader of the Pop. But he was able to distinguish himself from his contemporary Pop peers by incorporating profound literary and historical references and addressing important political and social issues in his works. He famously said, “I was the least Pop of all the Pop artists.”
In 1978, Indiana shifted his base to the island of Vinalhaven in Maine and started working from there. From 1989-1994, Indiana created a series of eighteen paintings known as “The Hartley Elegies.” He also created sculptors using “found objects” such as “Ash” and “Mars”, which were a reflection of both of his new surrounding and his past. He had also created a large number of prints such as “Numbers Portfolio” in the year 1958.
Indiana’s artwork has featured in several group and solo exhibitions across the world. Important museums like the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art etc. have included his works in their permanent collections.
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