THE SEVENTH AMERICAN DREAM, 1998

oil on canvas
four panels, diamond
overall: 204 x 204 in.
(518.2 x 518.2 cm)
Each panel: 102 x 102 in.
(259.1 x 259.1 cm)

Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, France, on loan to Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nice, France

©2019 MORGAN ART FOUNDATION/ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NY

The Seventh American Dream is the largest of Indiana’s American Dream paintings. Conceived in relation to the artist’s 1998 retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain in Nice, France, it was completed over thirty years after his sixth work in the series, USA 666 (1966), and is the first American Dream he painted in Vinalhaven. Indiana revisits and expands upon the formal vocabulary of earlier works, employing the quadripartite diamond format he first experimented with in The Red Diamond American Dream #3 (1962), and incorporating the number of the Dream within the painting’s orbs, as he did in the fourth and fifth Dreams (both 1963). The painting’s colors, red, white, blue, and orange, appear in different combinations in earlier seven paintings such as The Polygon 7: Heptagon (1962) and Seven (1964–65); additionally, the combination of red, white, and blue suggests both the French and American flags.

Indiana noted that while his early dreams were cynical, with “Dream” being used in an ironic sense, that they lost that irony as they proceeded [1]. This is illustrated The Seventh American Dream, which celebrates three American expatriates, the actress Grace Kelly, the entertainer Josephine Baker, and the dancer Isadora Duncan. All three went to France and prospered, achieving their personal version of the Dream. Although The Demuth American Dream #5 (1963) was a homage, this is the first work of the Dream series in which Indiana included the names of the particular individuals he was commemorating. The first name of each woman is incorporated into the perimeter of one of the orbs, along with the place and year of her birth and death. Indiana also inserts himself directly into the painting, including his name alongside the text, “The American Dream,” which, in previous diamond shaped dreams had been the only text in the perimeter of the lower circle. Not only is he too an American who achieved his version of the Dream through his artistic career, which was being celebrated in France with a solo exhibition, he was celebrating his 70th birthday that year.

 

[1] Donald B. Goodall, “Conversations with Robert Indiana,” in Robert L. B. Tobin, William Katz, and Donald B. Goodall. Robert Indiana. Austin: University of Texas, 1977.

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UNTITLED

1945
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
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UNTITLED

1945
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1945
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TECH

1945
500

500

1945
BEAN BUD

BEAN BUD

1945
MENE MENE TEKEL

MENE MENE TEKEL

1955–56/1989
HUB

HUB

1957/2005
SOURCE I

SOURCE I

1959
THE SLIPS

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1959–60
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SUN AND MOON

1959–60
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1959–62/1972
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TWO GOLDEN ORBS

1959/2001
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1960
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1960
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1960
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1960
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1960–61
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1960–61
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1960–62
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1960–62
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1960–62
JEANNE D'ARC

JEANNE D'ARC

1960–62
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1960–62
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1960–62
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1960–62
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1960–62
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1960–62
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1960–62
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1960–62
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1960–62
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1961
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1961
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1961
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1961
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1962
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1962
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1962
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1962
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1962
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1962
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HUB

1962
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1962
CHIEF

CHIEF

1962
DIE

DIE

1962/1984
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1962/1984
THE X-5

THE X-5

1963
COLUMN LOVE

COLUMN LOVE

1963–64
COLUMN EAT

COLUMN EAT

1963–64
FLAGELLANT

FLAGELLANT

1963/1969
LOVE

LOVE

1964
LOVE

LOVE

1964
THE ELECTRIC EAT

THE ELECTRIC EAT

1964–2007
ONE

ONE

1964–65
TWO

TWO

1964–65
THREE

THREE

1964–65
FOUR

FOUR

1964–65
FIVE

FIVE

1964–65
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SEVEN

1964–65
MY MOTHER

MY MOTHER

1964/1998
MY FATHER

MY FATHER

1964/1998
DILLINGER

DILLINGER

1964/1998
CALL ME ISHMAEL

CALL ME ISHMAEL

1964/1998
CALL ME INDIANA

CALL ME INDIANA

1964/1998
BOB'S COLUMN

BOB'S COLUMN

1964/1998
SIX

SIX

1965
EIGHT

EIGHT

1965
NINE

NINE

1965
ZERO

ZERO

1965
ALABAMA

ALABAMA

1965
MODEL T

MODEL T

1966
FLORIDA

FLORIDA

1966
LOVE

LOVE

1966
666

666

1966
LOVE

LOVE

1966–1999
THE ELECTRIC LOVE

THE ELECTRIC LOVE

1966–2000
LOVE WALL

LOVE WALL

1966–2006
LOVE

LOVE

1967
APOGEE

APOGEE

1970
ART

ART

1970
ART

ART

1972–2001
AHAVA

AHAVA

1977
MONARCHY

MONARCHY

1981
FIVE

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1984
MARS

MARS

1990
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ICARUS

1992
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1997
AMOR

AMOR

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2000
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ÀI

2002
ÀI

ÀI

2002