First printing, lithograph, Near Mint Minus
Framed dimensions: 44" tall x 33" wide
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This original 1968 lithograph featuring one of Max’s most iconic images, was printed and offered for sale by the Peter Max Poster Corp in NYC.
Peter Max’s name is nearly synonymous with the pop poster explosion of the late 1960s. The mature style – romantic, playful, and often psychedelic – that Max had fully developed by around 1966 was perfectly in sync with the spirit of the times. To quote him, “Everybody thought these posters were the backdrop of the Sixties.” From the cosmic imagery Hi work, expressing his personal cosmic imagery is filled with dynamic color and buoyant expectation. More than just feel-good vibes, his art lifts the spirit to a plane above the everyday.
Max’s art is rooted in a variety of influences that began with an unconventional childhood. Born in Berlin in 1937, he traveled shortly thereafter with his parents to pre-Maoist Shanghai, where he spent the first 10 years of his life. In a June interview, the artist recalled, “We lived in a pagoda house, and across the street was a Sikh temple. Living in the Orient put me in touch visually with lots of colors – red and gold everywhere.”
A slightly older child who babysat for the family supplied art materials to amuse the young boy. Max said, “Every day she pulled out sheets of paper; I started drawing and painting with brushes. I fell in love with the juxtaposition of certain colors. I learned how to combine and pair them. But I never thought that art was something you do when you grow up. You ride a bicycle but you don’t become a professional bike rider.”
Art historian Charles Riley notes, “Max understood that art reproductions were rising to the status of the original artwork and began to incorporate this notion into his art. The medium of the moment was the poster, owing in no small part to the work of Max himself. He became a pioneer in the printing techniques by which inexpensive, yet high-quality posters could be produced in an unprecedented range and intensity of colors, utilizing state-of-the art commercial presses that expanded the spectrum of available hues.”
Riley concluded, “Just as Toulouse-Lautrec captured the imagination of late 19-century Paris with his posters, Max led the international youth movement of the Sixties into a new visual culture.”