Robert Clark Indiana
* 1928 New Castle/Indiana
† 2018 Vinalhaven/Maine
The painter, graphic artist and sculptor Robert Indiana is an important representative of Sign Art.
Robert Indiana, actually Robert Clark, was born in New Castle/Indiana in 1928. The boy was adopted by the couple Clark right after his birth and spent his childhood near Indiana. As of 1958 Robert Clark changed his name to Robert Indiana.
The gifted Robert Indiana (Robert Clark) began his education in painting and drawing at the Arsenal Technical High School in 1942, in 1945 he took private lessons at the John Herron Art Institute. After he had finished high school, Robert Indiana (Robert Clark) became a soldier and joined the Air Corps in 1946, in 1949 he began to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1953 Robert Indiana (Robert Clark) completed his studies and went to New York a year later.
In New York he moved into a studio on Coenties Slip, Lower East River. Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, James Rosenquist, Jack Youngerman, Ann Wilson, Charles Hinman and Fred Mitchell also lived there – what these artists had in common was their rejection of gestural Abstract Expressionism.
Especially Ellsworth Kelly decisively inspired Robert Indiana (Robert Clark) to pursue this path. The young artist soon made his first paintings in the strict Hard Edge style (1957). Assemblages and the Orb pictures were made subsequently.
In 1960 Robert Indiana made a groundbreaking discovery: He took stencils used for labeling transport boxes, and created the writing that would become the leitmotif of his work. The characteristic Sign Art style of Robert Indiana was born, soon he referenced other sources, such as signposts or juke boxes, this way Robert Indiana also approached Pop-Art.
In the 1960s Robert Indiana became remarkably successful, especially with his "LOVE" motif, which became an icon for this period, in 1970 it was even executed as a monumental sculpture. Up until today "LOVE" counts among the most frequently reproduced works of post-war art.
In 1978 Robert Indiana relocated to the calm fishermen island of Vinalhaven. From that point on he predominantly made graphic works.
Robert Indiana's later period of creation also brought forth important artworks. Next to the "Peace Paintings" (as of 2003), his "HOPE" motifs are worthwhile mentioning, he made them as of 2008 in the style of his "LOVE" icons and used them to support Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
Works by Robert Indiana can be found in important international museums, among them the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne or the New Yorker Museum of Modern Art. Robert Indiana lived and worked on the island Vinalhaven in Maine till his death in 2018.