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Who Owns LOVE?

Just days before Robert Indiana’s death, an offshore shell company filed a copyright suit against him over his beloved public artwork.
A new lawsuit alleges that recent artworks produced by Robert Indiana violate the copyright of the Morgan Art Foundation—an offshore company whose owners and interests are secret.
A new lawsuit alleges that recent artworks produced by Robert Indiana violate the copyright of the Morgan Art Foundation—an offshore company whose owners and interests are secret.Matt Rourke/AP

Robert Indiana, the sculptor whose most famous work charted the course for public art everywhere, died on Saturday on a remote island off the coast of Maine, where he lived in isolation. He was 89. While he gave the world LOVE—an object as ubiquitous as the emotion itself in popular culture—the work was a source of lifelong frustration for the artist, right up to his death.

On Friday, the day before Indiana (born Robert Clark) died, a company called the Morgan Art Foundation Limited sued the artist and several associates for copyright infringement. The organization claims that it has owned the copyright for LOVE and several similarly configured works by Indiana, including AMOR and YALE, since the late 1990s. The suit alleges that recent artworks produced by Indiana violate the copyright of the Morgan Art Foundation—an offshore company whose owners and interests are secret.