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Robert Indiana (b. 1928)
Property from the Collection of Ruth and Jerome Siegel
Robert Indiana (b. 1928)

The Red Yield Brother IV

Robert Indiana (b. 1928)
The Red Yield Brother IV
signed, inscribed and dated 'COENTIES SLIP NEW YORK CITY ROBERT INDIANA 1964' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas, in four parts
overall: 68 x 68 in. (172.7 x 172.7 cm.)
Painted in 1964.
Stable Gallery, New York
Horace and Holly Solomon, California
Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 7 November 1985, lot 242
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Stable Gallery, New York, Robert Indiana, May 1964.
Providence, Rhode Island, Brown University, List Art Center, David Winton Bell Gallery and Southampton, Parrish Art Museum, Definitive Statements: American Art, 1964-66: An Exhibition, March 1986, p. 105, cat. no. 14 (illustrated).

Lot Essay

This work will be included in the forthcoming Robert Indiana catalogue raisonné of paintings and sculpture being prepared by Simon Salama-Caro.

Executed in 1964, The Red Yield Brother IV, was painted at a time of great social unrest, anti-war protest, and struggle for civil rights. Robert Indiana has always been outspoken about the socially active agenda of his work and The Red Yield Brother IV is a prime example of this intention. Building off the previous renditions of the Yield Brother series, Robert Indiana reworked his already iconic image to have a more direct and universal impact. Replacing the peace signs and cool blue hues with pivoted “Do Not Enter” symbolism and a forcible red palette, Indiana’s painting becomes a call to arms in the battle for peace.

Indiana’s message takes the form of four diamonds placed next to each other to form a larger diamond. Each of the smaller diamonds contains a circle with a line thought it and the words, “Yield Sister,” Yield Mother,” “Yield Father,” and “Yield Brother” in a font reminiscent of a warning sign. The message Indiana conveys is one of both unity and caution cunningly presented in a manner akin with the sentiments of the 1960’s. Indiana is pleading with people to not only come together in a time of disarray and turmoil but furthermore to take it upon themselves to enact positive change in the world.

Aside from the social commentary present in this work, it also illustrates a pure example of Indiana’s notable style. Shortly after moving to New York in the late 1950’s, Indiana met Ellsworth Kelly, the inspiration behind the hard-edged colors and shapes that would end up dominating his works. Together Indiana, along with Kelly, James Rosenquist, Agnes Martin, and Jack Youngerman would work closely together in New York inspiring each other’s development into the artists they would become. Each finding their own notable style, Indiana used techniques learned from Kelly and the others to propel himself into critical acclaim.

A stalwart of the Pop Art movement due to the technical similarities and his evocation of consumerist billboard symbolism, Indiana stands at the forefront of the movement along other heavyweights such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Indiana, however, rejects his placement within the movement and argues that his work stands for more than just consumerist reappropriation and is deeply rooted in socially aware commentaries and civil activism.

Regardless of the designation of Robert Indiana’s oeuvre, his ability to take text and elevate it to the artistic level he has done throughout his career is nothing short of masterful. From his iconic and renowned Love works to his Yield Brother series, his message of peace and love has endured and his ability to reach the masses has remained unchallenged.

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