Peter Max was born in Berlin, Germany in 1946. He and his
family moved to Shanghai, China when he was an infant. Ten years later
he and his family moved to Tibet where they stayed for one year before
immigrating to Israel. Max studied art at the University of Haifa. He
and his family then moved to Paris. When Max was 16 he and his family
settled in the USA, in New York. Max attended the Art Students League,
Pratt Institute, and the School of Visual Arts in New York. The trade
mark of Peter Max's art is that it is colorful, exuberant, surrealist,
and exotic. Max says he finds comic books, magical and that they, along
with the cultures of China have had the greatest influence on his style.
Max's art first captured the attention of the American art
community in the 1960's, when he began making the colorful, "mind
expanding" silkscreens which are his hallmark. In 1974 the U.S. Postal
Service commissioned Max to create a stamp commemorating the World's Fair
in Spokane. In 1976 he published a book dedicated to the United States
Bicentennial, and in it displayed fifty paintings which he created to
honor of each state. For the July 4, 1978 celebration, the U.S. General
Services Administration chose Max to design bilingual welcome murals for
Canadian and Mexican border stations. Over the last twenty some years
more than 5 billion people have been welcomed by the murals. Max often
uses American symbols in his work and has made paintings and projects
for Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and President Bush. He created a
multiple portrait installation, 100 Clintons, which was used
during President Clinton's inauguration celebrations. Max created his
fourth Grammy Award Poster, and re-designed NBC Television's symbolic
Peacock. Although today, Max continues to work with bright and
vibrant color, in some of his things he has introduced warm and soft pastel
colors and impressionistic brush strokes.
Max's drawings and limited edition graphics are in permanent
collections and exhibited in major museums throughout the world, including:
Beaumont Art Museum, Texas; Museum of the Southwest, Midland, Texas; Orange
Coast College Library, Costa Mesa, California; Brooks Memorial Art Gallery,
Memphis, Tennessee; Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana; Civic Art center,
Battle Creek, Michigan; May Company, Ohio; University of Alabama; University
of Montana; General Motors Institute, Michigan; Jacksonville Art Museum,
Florida; Modern Art Museum, Munich, Germany; Pompidou Center, Paris, France;
White House, Washington D.C.; and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Since the late 70's Peter Max's colorful and exciting art, his trademark, earned and held a unique place in the art world. Critics in the New York Times said of Max "...[He is] the artistic and cultural poster-laureate of the United States. His work has evolved from a visionary pop artist of the 1960's to a master of neo-expressionism, and his techniques of vibrant color have become a part of contemporary American culture."
See: Clayton Pond.
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