*13 September 1928 in New Castle (Indiana), U.S.
+19 May 2018 in Vinalhaven (Maine), U.S.
Robert Indiana was born in 1928 under the name of Robert Clark in New Castle in Indiana, USA. He later took on the name of his birthplace. His artistic talent was evident from an early age. He therefore moved to Indianapolis to attend Arsenal Tech, a high school with a very good art curriculum in 1942. After passing three years in the US Air Force, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in Maine and at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland.
He later moved to New York, where he met Ellsworth Kelly and followed his recommendation to settle down at Coenties Slip, a former important port in southeastern Manhattan, and join a community of artists that would include Kelly, Agnes Martin, James Rosenquist, and Jack Youngerman. Like his fellow artists, he looted the area’s abandoned warehouses and created sculptural assemblages from the found materials. The discovery of 19th-century brass stencils made him mark them with colorful numbers and short, emotionally charged words, and became the basis of his new painterly vocabulary.
1966 marked a turning point in his career due to the great success of his “LOVE” images and Indiana quickly gained a reputation as one of the most creative artists of his generation. Inspiration for his works, which often consist of single words with only a few letters, are found in typographies of signs, billboards and commercial logos.
In addition to his work as a painter and sculptor, he has also produced a whole range of prints. He decided to use screen printing, as this medium does justice to simplified forms and bright colours of his works. It also allowed for multiple use of the screens for serial variations, a common practice in Indiana’s oeuvre.
The artist died in May 2018 in his home on Vinalhaven, Maine.