This is an ‘image’ that will be well-known to many of us. It exists on cards, posters, album covers, jewellery and T-shirts and of course as this Sculpture. It has been around since 1965, and yet the Artist who created this ubiquitous artwork may well not be known to those who have seen, purchased or been given a version of it.
It’s creator was Robert Indiana, and the reason I am posting this now is because last Friday in my regular read through of the Obituaries in The Times newspaper I spotted Robert’s obituary headlined by the ‘Love’ sculpture (as it is known). He died of respiratory failure on 19 May.
In 1965 the Museum of Modern Art in New York commissioned Robert Indiana to design a Christmas card, and this was the first incarnation of the four letters of ‘LOVE’. It became a symbol of the late 1960s. Robert later produced a 6ft by 6ft painting of the image followed by the Sculpture. It even featured on an eight cent stamp in 1973.
He exploited the image, yet described it as the most plagiarised artwork of the 20th century.
I took this image in October 2012 on a visit to Waddesden Manor, near Aylesbury; a French Renaissance-style chateau built for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the 1870s to display his collections and entertain the fashionable world. I imagine this to be one of many copies of this famous Sculpture, but I was thrilled to see it in the flesh. It was surrounded by a foot-high post and chain to keep children away that I managed to clone out (children will climb on anything given half a chance!). And I was careful to choose a viewpoint that gave a clear view through to the small classical sculpture standing in the background in front of the building’s facade.
Some artworks leave a lasting impression on me – and this is one of them. It is always a challenge to try to capture an image that I feel does justice to another artist’s work. A photograph of another person’s art is never going to achieve a good mark from a judge, but the process of capturing and processing an image that I feel happy with is a satisfying endpoint in itself.