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Artist behind Philly’s iconic LOVE sculpture passes away


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LOVE Park in Philadelphia (JFK Plaza), just NW of City Hall, showing Franklin Parkway in the background leading up to the Art Museum (image courtesy of Wikipedia


CNBNews Staff 


(CNBNewsnet)(May 23, 2018)--Sad news as we hear that the artist behind Philadelphia’s most famous sculpture, the LOVE statue has passed away. 

Robert Indiana has passed away last weekend at the advanced age of 89, reportedly of respiratory failure. Indiana has passed away in his secluded island home off Maine’s coast, a converted Odd Fellows Hall, reportedly without the love he is famous for.

Friends had requested a health check, as they had not heard from him for some length of time, though he has always been known for his strong desire for solitude.

Born Robert Clark in 1928 in Indiana, Robert was one of the giants of the Pop artist movement, and speculated in silkscreen prints and Cor-ten steel sculptures still popular today. According to reports, Indiana had a difficult childhood, grew up in a difficult home, and with no love shared by the family. 

With the origin of the LOVE sculpture coming from a commission to make Christmas gift card for the Museum of Modern Art. The lettering was so bold and unique it was used again for the United States Postal Service Valentines Day stamp released in 1973. This stamp is still one of the most popular designs over forty years later!


The LOVE design headed towards Philadelphia due to its connection to spiritual influences, as Philly was partial to Quaker themes of inclusion and openness.


The sculpture was first placed in the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1970, but the most recognition it got was once it was placed in the John F. Kennedy Plaza (LOVE Park) in the Bicentennial celebration in 1976.


The statue was briefly moved to Dilworth Park when the LOVE Park closed for renovations in 2016, the LOVE park underwent massive renovations. The park was only reopened recently – debuting its refurbishments and most importantly with the LOVE statue back in its home park – visited and admired by thousands of people.


This LOVE sculpture has become almost universal, as it now appears across the globe in the same letting but different languages – all expressing the simple feeling – love.


This lettering has been used for any number of commercial advertising and greeting cards, as well as online sites like a few sports betting NZ has to offer, or even match making sites.



Though Indiana had stated that the LOVE statue seemed to overshadow any of his other works, he continued to produce additional art – varied and critically acclaimed collections of sculptures and prints, a diverse collection that went beyond being reduced to just the LOVE statue. Many would consider him a one hit wonder after such an iconic work as the LOVE statue, with people knowing the work but not actually knowing the artist.


But to reduce him to this one work (though iconic) would be an insult to the great man and his many artistic creations.


In the end Robert Indiana should be remembered as an inspiring but eccentric artist, not a difficult recluse who shut people out. He was a brilliant man, and the architect of Love after all.


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