The Making of a Philadelphia Icon: The Story Behind Robert Indiana's LOVE Sculpture

2023-03-21 05:16:14 By : Ms. Rebecca Du
A LOVE story for Valentine's Day: How Robert Indiana's sculpture (not statue) came to symbolize Philadelphia - 6abc Philadelphia

article about the history and significance of the iconic LOVE sculpture.

The LOVE sculpture, consisting of the letters L-O-V-E stacked on top of each other, has become an iconic symbol of both Philadelphia and love in general. The sculpture was created by American artist Robert Indiana, who first sketched the concept for the design on a napkin in the late 1950s. However, it wasn't until 1965 that Indiana created the first LOVE sculpture for a New York City art gallery.

The sculpture consists of the four letters stacked on top of each other, with the O slightly tilted to the right. The design has been widely reproduced as prints, posters, and other merchandise, making it one of the most recognizable art pieces of the 20th century.

But how did the LOVE sculpture end up in Philadelphia? The story of its journey to the City of Brotherly Love is a fascinating one.

The first person to commission Indiana to create a LOVE sculpture for public display was the father of actor Kevin Bacon, who owned a movie theater in Indianapolis. After the sculpture's success there, the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team owner Fitz Eugene Dixon Jr. asked Indiana to create a larger version of the sculpture for display outside the team's new arena, the Spectrum.

The Philadelphia LOVE sculpture was unveiled in 1976, not long after the bicentennial celebrations in the city. The unveiling ceremony was attended by hundreds of people, including Indiana himself. The sculpture became an instant hit with locals and tourists alike and quickly became a symbol of the city.

But why did the LOVE sculpture resonate so much with people? One theory is that it captured the spirit of countercultural freedom that was prevalent in the 1960s and 70s. The word "love" was a central theme of the hippie movement, and Indiana's sculpture was seen as a physical manifestation of that spirit.

Another theory is that the simple design and message of the sculpture made it accessible and appealing to people of all ages and backgrounds. The sculpture has since been replicated in countless forms and has been used to raise awareness for various causes, such as AIDS and cancer research.

A LOVE story for Valentine's Day: How Robert Indiana's sculpture (not statue) came to symbolize Philadelphia - 6abc Philadelphia

In recent years, the LOVE sculpture has undergone a few changes. In 2017, the sculpture was removed from its longtime home in Love Park for renovations. It was later moved to Dilworth Park, just a few blocks away, where it now sits on a raised platform surrounded by fountains.

The LOVE sculpture has also been the source of controversy over the years. In 2013, Indiana's estate filed a lawsuit against various art dealers and producers who they claimed had created unauthorized reproductions of the sculpture. Indiana himself had also been embroiled in legal battles over the use of the design before his death in 2018.

Despite the controversies, the LOVE sculpture remains an enduring symbol of Philadelphia and the power of love. The sculpture's message, simple as it may be, continues to resonate with people across generations, making it one of the most beloved and iconic art pieces of all time.

As a specialized manufacturer and trader of marble bronze and cast iron items with about 30 years of experience, Hebei Ideal Arts Factory feels great pride in knowing that our products, like the famous LOVE sculpture, can have such a significant impact on people's lives. We will continue to offer high-quality and beautiful art pieces to allow our clients to share their love of art with the world.