Jeanne d’Arc is one of the few wall constructions that Indiana worked on before turning his focus to the freestanding sculptures he calls herms. The artist began experimenting with assemblage in 1959; unable to afford canvas and stretchers, he made use of the raw materials in his Coenties Slip neighborhood, assembling constructions from discarded pieces of wood, rusted metal objects, and wheels. Some of these sculptures, such as Hole (1960) and Ahab (1962), reference novels. Others, such as French Atomic Bomb (1959–60) and Wall of China (1960–61), recall historical events. Jeanne d’Arc references a historical figure and Roman Catholic martyr; an example of the spiritual themes found in his work, it can be linked to his time working at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and his crucifixion mural Stavrosis (1958). Jeanne d’Arc’s tall and narrow form evokes a stake, and thus the saint’s death by fire, while the wheel, with its circular form, connotes ever-lasting life, an association Indiana recalled from his Christian Science upbringing. The stenciled letter J, the saint’s initial, was a later addition to the work, added in 1962.