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Robert Indiana’s Love Statue

There are many iconic Philadelphia symbols and pieces of art and one of the most popular and recognizable is the LOVE statue by Robert Indiana.

Tourists and locals alike flock to “LOVE Park” to take a photo with the statue – many not realizing that they are actually in John F. Kennedy Plaza.  The statue has become such a staple to Philadelphia and the park, that everyone refers to it’s permanent residence as Love Park.  How fitting for the City of Brotherly Love! Not many Philadelphians realize, though, that there are many iterations of Robert Indiana’s LOVE artwork.

LOVE was originally created as a pop art image for the Museum of Modern Art’s Christmas Card in 1964.  It was also used on a US postage stamp around the same time.  The original print has block colors with the LOVE in red against a green and blue background.  The original LOVE sculpture, in the form that we know and love, was first made in 1970 and is now housed in Indiana at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  

Other versions of Robert Indiana’s Love Statue can be seen around the world, including in Canada, Europe, Asia and South America. In Singapore the statue is bright blue, a contrast to the bright red we recognize. There are now even versions in Chinese, Hebrew, Italian and Spanish.  In Spain the statue reads AMOR. In Israel it is in Hebrew. There are also many homages to the recognizable work of art in instances of pop culture, like Rage Against the Machine’s album art for Renegade.

The artist, Robert Indiana, was born Robert Clark and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana.  He was born in 1928 and recently passed away May 19, 2018. A 12-foot Love Statue was sold in 2011 for $4.1 million.Philadelphia is lucky enough to have two versions of the famous statue – at 16th & JFK in the famous park it’s known for, and of University of Pennsylvania’s campus.  Now is a great time of year for residents of Lincoln Square to explore the city – and what better way than to find the two Robert Indiana Love statues in Philadelphia.  Every Philadelphian should have their photo with the Love statue! It’s like a right of passage for Philadelphians!