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Indianapolis Museum of Art acquires monumental work by Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein
Rendering of Roy Lichtenstein's Five Brushstrokes, designed 1983-84, fabricated 2012. Gift of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation with additional support from the Robert L. and Marjorie J. Mann Fund. ©Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The Indianapolis Museum of Art has acquired Five Brushstrokes, a monumental work by Roy Lichtenstein, commissioned in the early 1980s but never before assembled. The work will be unveiled in its completion for the first time this August at the IMA. The sculpture is considered to be Lichtenstein’s most ambitious work in his Brushstroke series. Consisting of five separate elements, the tallest of which soars 40 feet into the air, Five Brushstrokes features a striking collection of forms and colors and is one of Lichtenstein’s premier ‘scatter pieces’. Installed on The Dudley and Mary Louise Sutphin Mall in front of the main museum building, Five Brushstrokes will be a prominent new addition to the IMA’s celebrated outdoor sculpture program and an awe-inspiring welcome to IMA visitors.

“We have been working in partnership with the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation in New York for over a year to bring this iconic work of art to Indianapolis,” said Dr. Charles L. Venable, the Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO at the IMA. “I am thrilled that with the generous help of some special donors, the IMA is able to acquire this key work by one of America’s greatest artists. I am confident it will become a beloved addition to the cultural landscape of our state similar to Robert Indiana’s original LOVE, which has long greeted our visitors,” continued Venable.

Five Brushstrokes has been acquired through the generosity of the Lichtenstein Foundation and the late Robert and Marjorie Mann of Indianapolis, who established an acquisitions fund for contemporary sculpture through a bequest in 2011. The installation is generously being underwritten by Ersal and Izabela Ozdemir.

“Roy Lichtenstein always wanted his work installed in relationship to other peer artists, so we are all delighted to have worked with the IMA to find such a great home for Five Brushstrokes in the museum’s gardens,” says Dr. Jack Cowart, Director of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. He continues, “It has been our pleasure, and with the appreciation of the Lichtenstein family, to facilitate this partial gift to such a remarkable museum setting. We thank the IMA and its Board and supporters for choosing this most adventurous path and for being the first institution to install Five Brushstrokes.”

To celebrate the installation of Five Brushstrokes, the IMA will host an all-day party on August 29, 2014. Activities, programming and promotions will be held on the grounds, including a sculpture dedication ceremony.

Five Brushstrokes was originally commissioned by the Stuart Collection at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in the early 1980s. Throughout much of 1983 and 1984 Lichtenstein worked on the commission, sketching his thoughts, creating color cut outs of each element, and then making a wooden maquette of the work. However, when the final full-scale specifications were produced, the sculpture’s huge scale prevented its fabrication. Following Lichtenstein’s death in 1997, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation was established with the purpose of increasing the world’s exposure to the work of Roy Lichtenstein and the Foundation funded the fabrication of two examples of the Five Brushstrokes in 2012: the artist proof being acquired by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and an edition of one that is still owned by the Foundation.





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