Pop Art

Peter Max /   Peter Max Finkelstein

United States 1937

Pop Art, Psychedelic Art


Peter Max
Peter Max Finkelstein
United States
December 29, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Peter Max is a German-born American illustrator and graphic artist, known for the use of psychedelic shapes and color palettes as well as spectra in his work.

In 1938, Max’s parents fled Berlin, Germany, his place of birth, to escape the fomenting Nazi movement, settling in Shanghai, China, where they lived for the next ten years. In 1948, the family moved to Haifa, Israel where they lived for several years. From Israel, the family continued moving westward and stopped in Paris for several months— an experience that Max said greatly influenced his appreciation for art.

Peter and his parents first settled in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn in 1953 where he attended Lafayette High School (New York City), where he was classmates with future actor Paul Sorvino. In 1956, Max began his formal art training at the Art Students League of New York inManhattan, studying anatomy, figure drawing and composition under Frank J. Reilly who had studied at the League alongside Norman Rockwell.

In 1962, Max started a small Manhattan arts studio known as “The Daly & Max Studio,” with friend Tom Daly. Daly and Max were joined by friend and mentor Don Rubbo, and the three worked as a group on books and advertising for which they received industry recognition. Much of their work incorporated antique photographic images as elements of collage.

In 1970, many of Max’s products and posters were featured in the exhibition “The World of Peter Max,” which opened at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco.

Max’s art work was first identified as having been a popular part of the counter culture and psychedelic movements in graphic design during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He is known for using bursts of color, often containing much or the entire visible spectrum. His work was both influenced by, as well as widely imitated by, others in the field of commercial illustration, such as Heinz Edelmann. Max’s repeated claims, varying in detail, to have worked on “Yellow Submarine” has been denied by the production team.

Max works in multiple media including painting, drawing, etchings (including aquatint), collage, print making, sculpture, video and digital imagery. He also includes “mass media” as being another “canvas” for his creative expression. Max often uses American icons and symbols in his artwork. He has created paintings of presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush in addition to his 100 Clintons—a multiple portrait installation. He often features images of celebrities, politicians, athletes and sporting events and other pop culture subjects in his artwork.[1]

Max is an environmentalist, vegan and defender of human and animal rights.

Max currently lives in New York City.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2015Peter Max – A RetrospectiveState of the Arts Gallery, Sarasota, FLSolo
2015Peter MaxThe Cultural Center, Ponte Vedra BeachSolo
2014Peter Max: Homage to ColorAngela King Gallery, New OrleansSolo
2014Peter MaxNassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NYSolo
2014Peter Max Solo ExhibitDarien’s Geary Gallery, CT, USSolo
2014PETER MAX: A RETROSPECTIVE 1960-2014Gallery 7, Vinton Street, Omaha, Nebraska Solo
2014Peter MaxRoad Show Company, Pioneer Place in PortlandSolo
2013The Master of PopOcean Galleries, Stone Harbor, NJSolo
2013Receptions with Peter MaxKaris Art Gallery, Hilton Head Island, SC, USAGroup
2012Peter MaxOff the Wall Gallery, Houston, TXSolo
2012Collector’s Choice Summer ExhibitionWinchester Galleries, Broad Street, Victoria, BCGroup
2011Peter MaxNassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NYSolo
2011Salute to Patriotism - Peter Max Art ExhibitionOcean Galleries, Stone Harbor, NJSolo
2010Size does matterFLAG Art Foundation, New York City, NYGroup
2008New Works from Peter MaxAngela King Gallery, New Orleans, LASolo
2007The Creative World of Peter Max: A RetrospectiveEl Paso Museum of Art (EPMA), El Paso, TXSolo
2007Peter Max and the Summer of LoveThe de Young Museum, San Francisco, CASolo
2007Peter Max: Maximum ExposureTennessee State Museum, Nashville, TNSolo
2006Got Cow? Cattle In American Art, 1820-2000Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NYGroup
2006Peter Max: Virtual ExhibitionArt of Peter Max Gallery, LAS VEGAS, NVSolo
2005Colors of a Better WorldGallery M, Denver, COGroup
2003THE AMERICAN DREAMGalerie Gottschick, TübingenGroup
1993Pop to Patriotism exhibitionThe Corcoran Gallery of Art,Washington, DCGroup
1991Peter Max Solo ExhibitVárfok Gallery, BudapestSolo
1970The World of Peter MaxOrange County Museum of Art, Newport BeachSolo
1970The World of Peter MaxDe Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, CASolo
1968Word and Image: Posters and Typography from the Graphic Design Collection of the Museum of Modern Art 1879-1967MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYGroup
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