Mozart was a painting and somewhere that painting has disappeared into the European art scene. That was a canvas that I did for my landlord. It was key money for my building right here. His name, of course, is Klein, and that was why that particular phrase was chosen. And the painting has a peculiar shape in it which I’ve never used [before], and that is that the circle is broken up so that it describes a keyhole. It’s quite explicit what the painting is all about if one knows those things, which, of course, touches upon two or three things. I think that most people could probably do just as well not to know the complete story behind the painting. It might be more nicely appreciated if one thought I just had a passion for Mozart and wanted to enthuse about a composer who is one of my favorites. That [work] has pushed me on—I’m already working on a Prokofiev painting [Oranges, 1969–78] and this is how my work tends to [develop], one painting sets off another. But the fact that I did it in German—I have done a painting in French and I have done two or three paintings in German, and I suppose that, in the back of my mind, was simply a desire to cover myself. That is, I really would like to be able to communicate with everyone on the face of the world and, therefore, if I wanted to do it in the fullest way, obviously I would have to deal with other languages.
— Robert Indiana
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), p. 30.