Peter Max, Walking in Reeds, Version III, 2002, Signed, Original acrylic on paper, Edition Unique
Peter Max was born in Berlin in 1937, spent his childhood in China, Tibet, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and finally settled in the United States. His pan-cultural background has made his work rich in artistic diversity. From the calligraphy of the Buddhist monks to the Classical statuary in Parisian gardens, Max was inspired by the elegance of the line which gives birth to form. In New York, Max attended the Art Students League, the Pratt Institute, and the School of Visual Arts. After completing his studies, he opened a design studio and in the next few years won more than sixty-five awards for product, fashion, food, book, and poster designs. In the 1960s, Max rose to youthful prominence with his famous style, a bold, linear form of painting which employed shocking color juxtapositions and depicted transcendental themes. As his expressionistic style evolved, becoming more sensuous and painterly, his unique symbolism and vibrant color palette have continued to inspire new generations of Americans for decades. In 1964 he closed the studio to go into "creative retreat." It was then that he began making colorful, mind-expanding silkscreens. His second retreat was from 1972 until 1976, during that time he created the first "Preserve the Environment" Postage Stamp commemorating Expo 74 for the World Fair in Spokane, Washington. In 1976, he was selected to paint 235 border murals at entry points to Canada and Mexico. The same year, he created a painting of each of the 50 states, resulting in a book, Peter Max Paints America, dedicated to the Bicentennial. In 1981, he painted six liberty portraits for Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and in 1993 his famous '100 Clintons' installation. Max has painted for five American presidents; Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush the Elder, and Clinton. He has had approximately forty museum shows internationally, and more than fifty gallery shows worldwide. His works appear in the collections of many prominent museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.