HIGHBALL ON THE REDBALL MANIFEST, 1963

oil on canvas
60 x 50 in.
(152.4 x 127 cm.)

Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. Gift of Mari and James A. Michener, 1991

“Highball on the Redball Manifest” is an old American railroading term for the signal “All clear for a fast express,” which is probably how I rather immodestly thought of my own progress in the pop-roaring year of 1963. However, with the assassination of President Kennedy the “big train” and many little locals got seriously derailed. I painted HIGHBALL because my paternal grandfather was a locomotive driver for the Big 4, which occupation he called, as I remember, “engineer” – accurate but, nevertheless, confusing. He was a gruff, moustachioed proper Victorian from the plains of Kansas and passed on his interest in railroading to his son who worked briefly for the Pennsylvania Railroad some time before I entered the scene. That the canvas should hang in the Allentown Museum for many years seemed very appropriate.

In fact, the grays of this predominantly grisaille work were taken from the same paint jars that provided the palette for my diptych portrait MOTHER AND FATHER which was begun in 1963, too, but not finished until 1967. Since HIGHBALL ON THE REDBALL MANIFEST is a head-on view of an old steam locomotive – with the address, “25,” of my second Coenties Slip studio imposed upon its boiler as its number, it stands with the Model-T Fords of MOTHER AND FATHER as my only excursions into the mechanical genius of America, a theme I could have explored much further – but, alas! I was side-tracked by LOVE.

 

Note in the Michener Collection Archives from Robert Indiana, The Bowery, New York, 25 January 1974

Medium

Decade

View

Clear Filters
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
TECH

TECH

1945
500

500

1945
BEAN BUD

BEAN BUD

1945
MENE MENE TEKEL

MENE MENE TEKEL

1955-56/1989
GINKGO

GINKGO

1957/1959
HUB

HUB

1957/2005
SOURCE I

SOURCE I

1959
THE SLIPS

THE SLIPS

1959-1960
RA

RA

1960
ZIG

ZIG

1960
SOUL

SOUL

1960
OWL

OWL

1960
ORB

ORB

1960
MOON

MOON

1960
M

M

1960
HOLE

HOLE

1960
GE

GE

1960
WALL OF CHINA

WALL OF CHINA

1960 - 1961
ELECTI

ELECTI

1960-1961
MARINE WORKS

MARINE WORKS

1960-1962
MATE

MATE

1960-1962
TWO

TWO

1960-1962
JEANNE D'ARC

JEANNE D'ARC

1960-1962
BAR

BAR

1960-1962
LAW

LAW

1960-1962
STAR

STAR

1960-1962
CUBA

CUBA

1960-1962
MELVILLE

MELVILLE

1961
BALLYHOO

BALLYHOO

1961
HARDROCK

HARDROCK

1961
WOMB

WOMB

1961
SLIP

SLIP

1961
GEM

GEM

1961/1984
DOWN

DOWN

1962
UP

UP

1962
GRASS

GRASS

1962
FOR

FOR

1962
EAT/DIE

EAT/DIE

1962
HUG

HUG

1962
HUB

HUB

1962
FOUR

FOUR

1962
EAT

EAT

1962
CHIEF

CHIEF

1962
AHAB

AHAB

1962
DIE

DIE

1962/1984
X-5

X-5

1963
COLUMN LOVE

COLUMN LOVE

1963-1964
COLUMN HUG

COLUMN HUG

1963-1964
COLUMN EAT

COLUMN EAT

1963-1964
FLAGELLANT

FLAGELLANT

1963/1969
LOVE

LOVE

1964
LOVE

LOVE

1964
ONE

ONE

1965
TWO

TWO

1965
THREE

THREE

1965
FOUR

FOUR

1965
FIVE

FIVE

1965
SIX

SIX

1965
SEVEN

SEVEN

1965
EIGHT

EIGHT

1965
NINE

NINE

1965
ZERO

ZERO

1965
MODEL T

MODEL T

1966
LOVE

LOVE

1966
666

666

1966
LOVE

LOVE

1966-1999
LOVE WALL

LOVE WALL

1966/2006
LOVE

LOVE

1967
APOGEE

APOGEE

1970
ART

ART

1972-2001
AHAVA

AHAVA

1977
MONARCHY

MONARCHY

1981
FIVE

FIVE

1984
MARS

MARS

1990
ICARUS

ICARUS

1992
EVE

EVE

1997
AMOR

AMOR

1998-2006
COMET

COMET

2000