by Debbie Wells
Internationally acclaimed American pop artist Peter Max, now 77, known for his iconic images that epitomize the culture of the 60’s, 70’s and even today. His colorful paintings and graphic style captured the essence of the times, but are timeless in its appeal. To fully understand his art, learning about the man himself is paramount. Here are five facts about Peter Max that you may not know.
1. In 1938, Max’s parents fled Berlin his place of birth, to escape the Nazis and relocated to Shanghai, China where they lived in a Jewish community until 1948.
2. He studied astronomy in Israel.
3. Ever the artist-businessman, Max was featured on the cover of LIFE Magazine in 1969: “Peter Max-Portrait of the Artist as a Very Rich Man”
4. Max was very involved in the restoration of the Statue of Liberty in 1976.
5. Far beyond the canvas, even cruise ships have donned a Peter Max design!
If you are interested in learning more Peter Max, Artful Circle’s Debbie Wells has created an educational and entertaining lecture presentation about his life and work. For more information, visit www.artfulcircle.com and look in the Lectures section of the website.
by Franklin Hill Perrell
Our recent visits to Madison Avenue galleries commenced at Skarstedt on E. 79th for the exhibition of Georg Baselitz’s series of Orange Eaters and Glass Drinkers from 1981-83. These dozen quite masterful neo-expressionist paintings are from the series that made the German contemporary artist famous in America, portraits in his typical palette of vivid colors and scumbled rich paint handling. Everything appears upside down: perhaps a comment on the state of world affairs but certainly a strategy for keeping a painting midway between abstraction and reality. It’s lively, engaging, and historic, and the work looks fresh, spontaneous, and relevant. Skarstedt, 20 E. 79 St., Georg Baselitz: Drinkers and Orange Eaters. Closes June 27.
Next door, we visited the ever wonderful Acquavella. Their exhibition, entitled Off Canvas, featured works in media other than paint-on-canvas, thus watercolor, pastel, pencil, pen and ink, and so on. Characteristic of the museum-like aura of this gallery, included are a dazzling array of major 20th century artists, from Picasso to Thiebaud: Matisse, Arshile Gorky, Sam Francis, Lucien Freud, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and more. It begins with Toulouse-Lautrec’s exquisitely rendered 1899 drawing of a circus equestrian. This piece is notable for its detailed depictions of spectators who could have stepped out of Moulin Rouge.
The point of this show is not only to portray significant stylistic statements but to provide a glimpse of studio practice. Works on paper reveal the most direct expression of the artists’ immediate thinking and intent, whereas paintings in oil typically require a number of intervening technical stages.
Acquavella, 18 E. 79 St., Off Canvas. Closes June 12.
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