Robert Indiana, ERR (Sheehan 29) , 1963
ERR (Sheehan 29) , 1963
This early and extremely rare (one of only 15), 1963 photoengraving and etching by Robert Indiana is rarely seen on the market - and a real find for fans and collectors of Robert Indiana. It is one of the few etching and engravings Robert Indiana did, before turning to lithography and silkscreening. This is one of only 13 trial proofs, numbered A/M- M/M, the present being E/M or 5/13, aside from the regular edition of 60, which were annotated in pencil "Artist's Proof." It was published by Galleria Schwarz in Milan, and printed at the Pratt Graphic Art Center in NYC and inscribed E/M and NYC as part of the Avant-Garde portfolio in 1963, published commissioned by Billy Kluver and Arturo Schwarz. In a 1991 interview for the catalogue raisonne, Robert Indiana explains the inspiration behind this most intriguing work: "When I went back to the Art Institute of Chicago at that particular time - I think I was judging a show - I learned that Vera Berdich [Indiana's former teacher] was still there and the idea occurred to me, wouldn't it be fun to do a visiting artist etching, and she concurred. There on the floor was a box of copper plates and the images had been defaced on each one. These copper plates had been donated by the R.R. Donnelly Company, which put out Life magazine. I used to work for Donnelly. My only commercial art job was with them doing the little drawing that appear in the Yellow Pages, like lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners and things like that. Anyway, the idea being that the student was supposed to turn the plate over to use the back side and forget about the image on the front. But I found this image of this actress sitting on her bed with her ironing board and decided it was only very lightly defaced, so I asked if I could use it. And the word "Err" was actually added in New York; it was not in the first proofs in Chicago. Two weeks later, I was thumbing through LIFE magazine and there was this actress in the same page..." The work is hand signed and dated in pencil, lower right recto, annotated "Artists Proof", lower left recto, with a dateline of New York in the lower middle recto. The work also bears Robert Indiana's own blind stamp from Coenties Slip, NY on lower left recto (front). This work was fine provenance: it was acquired from the estate of Eleanor Rigelhaupt - a respected Boston gallerist in the 1960s, and a friend to Robert Indiana.
It has been elegantly floated and re-framed in a modern frame, with Tru-vu museum plexiglass; however, the original back board with Robert Indiana's handwritten, signed inscription, has been retained, as is affixed to the verso of the new frame, to preserve provenance.
The inscription on the verso (back) reads as follows:
My best and many thanks,
Frame: 12 3/4 x 15 3/4 x 1 1/4 inches
Sheet: 10 x 13 inches