The American Sweetheart, one of the first canvases to which Indiana added words, originally began as an abstract orb painting, one of a series of silhouetted circles on which he had been working. The painting’s upper section consists of fours orbs enclosing five-pointed stars, and in the lower section is the work’s title, painted in stenciled letters. The central portion of the canvas contains twenty orbs, each filled with a woman’s name. These names fill the orbs horizontally, thus their length is limited to three letters. Many of the names are of women he knew, including childhood friends (Amy) and crushes (Pat), high school competitors (Sue), friends of his mother (Bee and Eva), New York neighbors (Ann) and his grandmother, whose nickname was Pet. Other names were incorporated due to the need for additional three letter words, yet some of these also have personal connotations. For instance, May denotes the actress Mae West, whom Indiana also commemorated in his painting The Triumph of Tira (1960-1961), and Liz refers to Elizabeth Taylor, who starred in Raintree County (1957), a film based on a novel which took place in the county where Indiana was born.