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 Bob (Robert) Peak  (1927 - 1992)

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Lived/Active: New York/Kansas/Connecticut/Arizona/Colorado      Known for: magazine and poster illustrator, portrait and landscape painter

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Ad Code: 3
Bob Peak
from Auction House Records.
Apocalypse Now
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Considered "the father of the contemporary movie poster," Bob Peak likely transformed the approach to movie advertising from basic collages of film stills or head shots to flamboyant artistic illustrations.  After his first poster for West Side Story in 1960, he went on to create more than 100 posters for such films as Camelot, My Fair Lady, Superman, Apocalypse Now, Excalibur and Star Trek III, just to name a few.  Although a large percentage of his work was for the film industry, Peak was not short on editorial assignments with 45 covers of Time Magazine featuring his illustrations -most notably the portrait of Mother Teresa.

Peak's flexibility kept him moving and won him eclectic assignments: in 1964 he hunted Ibex with the Shah of Iran for Sports Illustrated; he received the largest commission for an individual artist from the U.S. Postal Service, to design over 30 stamps and 31 watercolor paintings depicting various historical Olympic moments for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Although he took pride in being a commercial illustrator he also found room for personal expression as a gallery fine-art painter.  His work has been featured in One Man Shows and is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institute, the American Museum of Sports, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, among others.

The 40th Anniversary Issue of Communication Arts magazine included Bob Peak among the top 18 pioneers of the industry who made major contributions to visual communication over the previous four decades, helping to shape and define the field.

Renee Kezar Fine Art

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Robert "Bob" Peak was born May 30, 1927 in Trinidad, Colorado.  He grew up in Kansas and attended Wichita State Univ. from 1944-45 and 1946-49.  Peak majored in geology with a minor in art and got a part time job in the art department of McCormick-Armstrong where he gained the confidence to choose an art career and learned the skill of versatility by doing layout, illustration and lettering.  Studied at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, CA graduating in 1951.  Taught at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, at the Art Students League in New York where he had moved in 1953, and the Famous Artists School. Considered "the father of the contemporary movie poster," Peak transformed the approach to movie advertising from basic collages of film stills or head shots to flamboyant artistic
illustrations creating posters for more than 130 films.  He also produced 45 covers of Time Magazine, designed over 30 stamps and 31 watercolor paintings for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and did numerous illustrations for TV Guide and Sports Illustrated. He died in Scottsdale, Arizona on August 1, 1992.

Exhibitions: Wichita State Univ., 1972, 1982; Ringling Museum of Art; Society of
Illustrators; Design School Gallery, Philadelphia, 1986.

Awards: over 100 awards from the Society of Illustrators; Artist of the Year, Artists Guild of New York, 1961; Illustrators Hall of Fame; Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hollywood Reporter, 1992.

Collections: National Portrait Gallery; American Museum of Sports; Academy of Motion
Picture Arts & Sciences; Wichita State Univ.
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
AskART,, accessed Oct. 21, 2007; Topeka Public Library. Kansas Artists List. (Mar. 11, 1988).;, accessed Nov. 29, 2007; New York Times (Aug. 6, 1992); Pamphlet file at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library in Washington, DC.
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, V:
Robert "Bob" M. Peak (May 30, 1927 – August 1, 1992) was an American commercial illustrator best known for innovative design in the development of the modern movie poster.

His artwork has been on the cover of Time magazine, TV Guide, and Sports Illustrated. He also illustrated advertisements and U.S. postage stamps.

Bob Peak was born in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Kansas. He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a commercial illustrator. He majored in geology from Wichita State University and got a part time job in the art department of McCormick-Armstrong. After serving the military during the Korean War, Peak transferred to the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California, graduating in 1951.

In 1953, Peak moved to New York City, landed an Old Hickory Whiskey ad campaign. His work went on to appear in major advertising and national magazines.

The United Artists movie studio hired Peak in 1961 to help promote West Side Story. Peak later illustrated posters for designer Bill Gold including My Fair Lady, and Camelot, as well as Rollerball (1975), the first six Star Trek films, Superman (1978), In Like Flint, and Apocalypse Now.

Peak received a commission from the U.S. Postal Service to design 30 stamps for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

Peak also taught in his own college and later at Art Students League, New York and Famous Artists School.

In 1961, Peak was named Artist of the Year by the Artists Guild of New York. He won eight Awards of Excellence and four gold medals from Society of Illustrators, which in 1977 Society of Illustrators him to its Hall of Fame. The Hollywood Reporter presented him the 1992 Key Art Lifetime Achievement Award.


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