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Compare Indiana’s sculpture before and after the restoration.
Close Caption
Left: Shutterstock; Right: Jared Castaldi. Robert Indiana (b. 1928), LOVE, 1976. Painted aluminum, on stainless steel base, 72x72x36in. (182.9x182.9x91.4cm), base 84x96x48in. (213.4x243.8x121.9cm). Gift of F. Eugene Dixon to the City of Philadelphia, owned by the City of Philadelphia.
Color Correction
Art conservators discover that a famous sculpture has been painted the wrong color for decades

For nearly 41 years, artist Robert Indiana’s sculpture LOVE has stood in a park in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 830-pound aluminum artwork is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. So residents and city officials were shocked to learn that part of the sculpture had long been painted the wrong color—and that no one had noticed the mistake.

The discovery came about in 2017, when the city decided to repair and repaint the sculpture. A representative from Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy contacted Indiana’s studio to verify the sculpture’s exact colors. It turned out that LOVE was supposed to be red, green, and purple, not red, green, and blue. How did the mix-up happen?

The city of Philadelphia, which owns LOVE, first installed the sculpture in 1976. Archival photographs confirm that back then, the sides of the letters were purple. Then in 1988, the sculpture underwent its first restoration. LOVE returned with the outsides of its letters blue. The error went unnoticed. That’s likely because the original purple color had faded over time to blue, which people had become accustomed to, says Margot Berg, the city’s public art director.

Indiana has created many versions of his LOVE sculpture, but only Philadelphia’s features the color purple. That makes it unique, says Berg. She decided to restore the work using the purple that Indiana originally intended—instead of the iconic blue that ?the public recognizes. Berg is worried that some people—especially Philadelphia locals—will be unhappy about this change.

Officials recently reinstalled the sculpture but the jury is still out about the newly restored color. What do you think? Should iconic artworks be restored to the state in which the public knows them, or according to the artist’s original idea?

1. Why might some Philadelphia residents be unhappy about the altering of LOVE’s color scheme?
2. Why did Berg decide to restore the artwork to the colors the artist originally intended?
3. In your opinion, should the city have restored LOVE to its original colors? Why or why not?

If an artwork is being restored, it is best to restore it as closely as possible to it's original state. Fundamentally, the purpose for art restoration has been to help preserve a work of art while restoring it to it's original condition. Paintings that undergo restoration often require painstaking precision and research for the restorer to be as accurate as possible in their use of media, including color.
Posted by: Ms. M. | May 9, 2018 at 6:39 PM
1. They were probably unhappy about it because it is one of the cities most iconic landmark and it had been the wrong color. 2. Berg decided to restore it to the purple color because it was what Indiana originally intended the color to be. 3. I think they should restore it to its original intended color because that's what the original artist wanted to begin with.
Posted by: Kristen W. | May 9, 2018 at 6:42 PM
The people might be unhappy because the city ruined the colors that were originally there and also there the only one's that had purple in the sculpture. Berg decided to restore the sculpture to make people happy and because that was the artist original idea. Know one should change his own creation. I don't think it would of really mattered because if people hadn't noticed it when the changes were made, then the people can be unhappy. Also I think that they should have fixed it because it was someones creation that someone messed up and so they did right in fixing the sculpture's colors.
Posted by: Quinston L. | May 9, 2018 at 6:43 PM
The residents have grew up with the color being blue. They are used to seeing blue instead of purple. If someone altered the color, they wouldn't view the sculpture as the same. Berg decided to restore it because it was originally supposed to be purple anyways. No one knew that because they don't remember it. I think the city should restore it because if it was purple, there had to be a reason for that certain color.
Posted by: Lilly F. | May 9, 2018 at 6:43 PM
1. I think why some of the Philadelphia residents are going to be unhappy is because they've seen the sculpture blue for so long and might think that its a tradition to keep it how it is. 2. She restored the artwork to its original color because that's what the artist intended to do originally. 3. I think yes because if the artist wanted it to be purple originally, then it should be changed to its original color.
Posted by: Michaela C. | May 9, 2018 at 6:44 PM
This is an extremely touchy argument. No matter the decision, someones going to be upset with what happens. On one hand I get that it's the artists intended idea, but on the other, it's the artist's work. I feel that they should restore it to its original state. If the public does not like the restoration, then they could change it back. I'm sure the artist intended ,"LOVE," to be a nice public piece of art for many to enjoy.
Posted by: Jacob W. | May 9, 2018 at 6:45 PM
some residents might be unhappy because its different and they dont like change. berg wanted to restore the sculpture to its original color because thats the color the artist intended for. i do think the sculpture should be restored to its original color because thats the way it was made
Posted by: wes V. | May 9, 2018 at 6:45 PM
Some Philadelphia residents might be unhappy about the altering of the LOVE's color scheme because,they could of grown to the colors before they found out that those were the wrong colors. Or maybe they like the color blue on the LOVE sculpture better than purple.
Posted by: Taigan T. | May 9, 2018 at 6:45 PM
1. They are not used to changes; the people where used to the color blue than the color purple. 2. Berg wanted the artwork to be different than the others and he wanted it to be the same as the artist. 3. Yes, having the original art will remind everyone of its true colors. The artist wanted it to be purple and should stay purple.
Posted by: Tarissa M. | May 9, 2018 at 6:45 PM
We should restore the artwork with the original colors that the artist intended. If we don't, the artwork loses its originality and meaning.
Posted by: Allison D. | May 9, 2018 at 6:45 PM
I think that they should change it to the color that it was originally suppose to be and make the people happy. The reason the color changed to blue is because when certain colors mix they make different colors.
Posted by: Hunter W. | May 9, 2018 at 6:45 PM
i would leave it the the artiest painted it. because they painted it a diffrect color then what the artist painted it
Posted by: Daisey . | May 9, 2018 at 6:45 PM
Some people may be unhappy because it has been that way for a long time. Berg decided to do this because that was how it was originally intended and he wanted that back.In my opinion, I believe that it should be the colors that it was messed up as.
Posted by: Nic D. | May 9, 2018 at 6:47 PM
I think they should leave it how its because I like how it looks.
Posted by: Jon V. | May 9, 2018 at 6:47 PM
I think that they should have kept it according to the original. The artist picked the colors for a reason but I also believe that people shouldn't overreact over this mistake. They can repaint it so it's not a big deal.
Posted by: Cristina R. | May 9, 2018 at 6:48 PM
1. The locals might be upset because some of them may have grew up seeing the outsides of the letters blue. They might think that now since they painted it purple that it doesn't hold the same meaning and value. 2. Because right now its going against what the artist intended, and its kind of disrespectful 3. Yes, I do believe that they should restore it to what the artist originally intended. Think about it what if you spent all this time creating an art piece and then it was changed. I think I would be a little up in arms about it, because I probably picked that color scheme ect.. for a reason.
Posted by: Emily. H. | May 9, 2018 at 6:50 PM
I think it's kind of silly how people are arguing over the colors purple and blue. It was purple before and then it faded to blue so I say just let it be. I don't see the point of people getting worked up about what color LOVE is. There should just be many sculptures of LOVE that are blue, green, and red and some that are purple, green, and red. That way everyone gets what they want and there won't be as much arguing.
Posted by: Evelyn R. | May 9, 2018 at 6:50 PM
Why would they change the color of Love sculpture now. It has been many years since its been up they could have changed the colors 41 years ago. Also i find it petty to be mad about the color. I feel like they should of just left it the way it was.
Posted by: Jjalisa R. | May 9, 2018 at 6:51 PM
1. It was the wrong colors. 2. Because it was an original piece of art. To make it unique. 3. Yes, but no. Yes because it needs to be looking good and not crappy. No because not everything will be the same.
Posted by: Charlie V. | May 9, 2018 at 6:51 PM
I don't see any purple in this image and i think it looks better the way it does before it was changed.
Posted by: Nikeli A. | May 9, 2018 at 6:53 PM
Yes, because that is how the artist originally designed it.
Posted by: Randa J. | May 9, 2018 at 6:53 PM

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