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 Peter Dean  (1934 - 1993)

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Lived/Active: New York/Wisconsin / Germany      Known for: expressive, impasto laden landscape, genre and figure painting

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Ad Code: 3
Peter Dean
from Auction House Records.
Five Morning Pines
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is the obituary of the artist, submitted by James E. Martin, whose novel, Clementa, has a painting for cover art of Peter Dean's, and who was a long-time friend of the artist and his family. Martin, working with the widow of the artist, wrote the obituary, which was published in The New York Times.

Peter Dean, Artist, 58

Peter Dean, an artist whose works have been shown throughout the United States and Europe, died Saturday 13 March 1993 at home in New York.  He was 58 years old. 

The cause of his death was Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). 

Works by Mr. Dean, a figurative expressionist painter, are in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Ghent Museum of Modern Art in Belgium, as well as museums in New Orleans, Richmond, Madison, Charlotte, and Wichita. 

Mr. Dean was an active participant in the downtown art scene for 30 years.  His paintings were first shown in New York in 1963 at the Aspects Galley on Tenth Street, and a “Salute to Peter Dean by his Friends” was presented last fall at the G. W. Einstein gallery in Soho.  Currently his paintings can be seen at the Gallery Jupiter, Little Silver, N.J., and the Leedy-Voulkos Gallery, Kansas City, Mo.  Also, several of the assemblages that he called fetishes are being shown at the Gallery 1100/Niagara, Buffalo, N.Y. 

Mr. Dean was born in 1934 in Berlin and came to this country with his family in 1938.  He grew up in the Inwood section of Manhattan and attended Cornell University, then transferred to the University of Wisconsin and graduated in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in geology.  He explored for minerals with the Anaconda Copper Company in Brazil, Montana, and Nevada before returning to New York to try his luck at a career in art. 

Soon after, Mr. Dean joined Benny Andrews, Isser Aronovici, Bill Barrell, Ken Bowman, Jay Milder, Peter Passuntino, Nick Sperakis, and other artists in forming Rhino Horn, a movement to break away from the abstractionism dominant at the time. In 1984, Mr. Dean’s paintings were shown alongside those of Munch, Soutine, and Ensor at the Galleri Bellman on 57th Street, but his work seemed to have a special appeal to collectors in New Orleans, perhaps because they felt its resonance with Mardi Gras. 

Mr. Dean is survived by his wife Lorraine and his son Gregory, both of New York, and his sister Marion Wollmeringer of Framingham, Mass. 


Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2004  Unisom Art Center, New Paltz, NY
2002  Jump Start, New York
1992  University of Wisconsin Art Museum, Milwaukee
1991  Freedman Gallery, Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania
1991  Museum of Art, University of Arizona, Tucson
1990  Alternative Museum, New York
1989  Brown Gallery, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
1989  North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks
1988  San Antonio Art Institute
1981  Hughes Fine Art Center Gallery, Grand Forks, North Dakota
1978  Madison Art Center, Madison, Wisconsin
1972  New Orleans Museum of Art

Selected Group Exhibitions:
1992  Transforming the Western Image. Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California traveling to Boise Art Museum, Tucson Museum of Art, Rockwell Museum, Corning, New York
1991  Landscapes. Woodstock Artists Association, Woodstock, New York
1990  Art of Love. Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, California
1989  A Different War: Vietnam in Art. Whatcom Museum of Art, Bellingham, Washington
1989  The Unquiet Landscape. Arts Club of Chicago, traveling to Frumkin Adams Gallery, New York
1986  Fetishes, Figures, and Fantasies. Kenkeleba house, New York
1986  Landscapes, Cityscapes, Seascapes. Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, traveling to City Gallery of Contemporary Art, Raleigh, North Carolina
1986  Selected Works from the New York Collection Members Gallery. Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York
1986  Short Stories. 1 Penn Plaza, New York
1984  Paradise Lost/Paradise Regained: American Visions of the New Decade. Venice Biennale
1983  Victims and Violations. Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans
1982  74th American Exhibition. Art Institute of Chicago
1981  Crimes of Compassion. The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia
1981  The Figure: A Celebration. North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, traveling to Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi
1973  American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York
1971  Rhino Horn. The New School for Social Research, New York, traveling to the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia; Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, Ohio: Gallery of Contemporary Fine Art, Oklahoma City
1971  32nd Corcoran Biennial of American Painting, Washington DC
1971  III Bienal Internacional del Deporte en las Bellas Artes. Barcelona, Spain
1969  II Bienal Internacional de Deporte en las Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain
1967  Angry Arts. Loeb Student Center, New York University

Selected Collections:
Akron Art Museum
Art Institute of Chicago
Denver Art Museum
Freeport Art Museum, Freeport, Illinois
Ghent Museum of Modern Art, Ghent, Belgium
Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York
Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, University of Texas, Austin
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Madison Art Center, Madison, Wisconsin
Milwaukee Art Museum
Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
New Orleans Museum of Art
New York Public Library
Phoenix Museum of Art
Rhode Island School of Design
Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, Illinois
J.B. Speed Museum, Louisville, Kentucky
Tampa Museum of Art
Tucson Museum of Art
University of Arizona Museum of Art
University of Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City
Wichita Art Museum

Selected Appointments:
Distinguished Beaumont Professor of Art: Washington University, St. Louis

Visiting Artist:
Colgate University
Cranbrook Academy of Art
Louisiana State University
Princeton University
Rutgers University
San Antonio Art Institute
Skidmore College
Southwest Texas State College
University of North Dakota
University of Texas
University of Washington, Seattle
University of Wisconsin
Yale University

National Endowment for the Arts, 1981, 1987
New York State Council of Arts, 1975

Additional notes by James Martin:

Peter Dean was an active artist in New York for almost thirty years, from 1963 to about two years before his death in 1993. Peter’s biggest show was probably the North Dakota retrospective in 1989. Laurel Reuter curated it and Carter Ratcliff wrote the catalogue. Barry Blinderman is another curator who knows Peter and his work very well. 

Other artists who know Peter and his work are Bill Barrell, Bob Colescott, Jay Milder, Eddie Samuels and Frank Viner.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is information from Ira A Kaufman:

I believe in 1967-8 Peter and I had a talk while I drew a picture of him. It was in the front of the Brata Gallery with the daylight coming through the window. He recalled the story of when he was a child and his family made their escape from Nazi Germany. I will just say he described the great tension which his parents felt and which he as a little child also felt and remembered vividly. They were standing on a train platform and waiting for the train which they had somehow obtained tickets on to get them out of there. He recalled the Gestapo patrolling and the fear.

Peter was very Nordic looking, and his parents also had blue eyes, blond hair, high cheekbones and so on. But being Jewish, they had much to fear. This ordeal apparently left terrible scars on his folks. When they found a safe haven in the States, they put statues of pigs in their house. They would get dressed up and go for walks on Sunday. This might seem to be a normal enough thing to do, but Peter explained these walks were made to blend in with the Gentiles. You see no matter how long they lived, the Gestapo was never far behind in their minds.

Peter's makeup was formed in this atmosphere.

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