85 years ago today Robert Indiana was born in New Castle, Indiana.  We hope that you’ll join us in wishing him a happy birthday!

To help celebrate, we combined two of his Numbers into a birthday card.  These numbers were were originally created as a series of paintings for an exhibition in 1963 and were later made into a limited edition series of prints in 1968.

In various publications Indiana has defined the meaning and purpose of these colors as they relate to each number. This Numbers series culminated in an important commission in 1980 — Indianapolis shopping mall magnate, Melvin Simon & Associates, asked Indiana to create his Numbers into 8-foot tall polychrome sculptures that were to be placed around the company’s various properties in celebration of their 20th anniversary.

This original set of Numbers is now in the collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the subject of the exhibition, Robert Indiana: By the Numbers.

Robert Indiana's "Numbers" on view in London, England. Image courtesy, "i am acrylic."

Robert Indiana’s “Numbers” on view in London, England. Image courtesy, “i am acrylic.”

Since then he’s created the Numbers in a variety of sizes and exhibited them in editions around the world. Today a set is on view in London, England, out in front of Lloyd’s Building.  They’ll be on view for the rest of the year as part of the City of London’s project “Sculpture in the City 2013.”

Indiana has always been fond of numbers, and they’ve played an important part in many of his artworks.  Among the more subtle connections he’s made are to the numbers of highways that run through Indiana, like U.S. Route 40, otherwise known as “The National Road,” which was the first improved highway in the U.S. If you look closely at his painting, The American Dream, 1, in the collection of MoMA, you’ll see many numbers, including a 40.

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