© Robert Indiana / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY.

Robert Indiana: Hartley Elegies

Robert Indiana, the Pop artist most known for his “LOVE” series, regarded the American Modernist Marsden Hartley as his artistic hero. Indiana’s obsession with Hartley began when he discovered that the artist once spent a summer painting in Vinalhaven, Maine, a remote town where Indiana lived for over 30 years. Indiana, fascinated by the symbolism of numbers, began his “Hartley Elegies” series in 1989, choosing this year to mark the 75th anniversary of the death of Hartley’s dear friend Karl von Freyburg, a German officer whose loss initiated a significant period of creative output for Hartley. While Indiana’s original “Hartley Elegies” have been lost to time, the works are survived by a series of limited edition silkscreen prints. “I consider them to be the most important paintings that I’ve done,” Indiana has said of the series, which combine a variety of symbols, numbers, and letters in Hartley’s signature Modernist style.

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