1937 (Berlin, Germany)
New York / Germany
Subject to Copyright
Often Known For
illustrations-sport, psychedelic, pop art
Would you like to discuss this artist?
AskART Discussion Boards
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Peter Max is a multi-dimensional artist focused on contemporary
events. When he left art school in the 1960s he began producing,
"cosmic imagery . . . that caught on right away, and before you knew
it, I got an eight-page cover story in Life magazine." He
explores all media, including mass media as a "canvas" for his creative
His decorative designs are on a Boeing 777
Continental, Dale Earnhardt's #3 Millennium race car, U.S. postage
stamps and 235 U.S. border murals. He created two 155-foot murals
for the U.S. Pavilion at the Seville World's Fair in Spain, 12 postage
stamps for the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and a 600-foot
stage mural for Woodstock 2. He has also painted for five U.S.
presidents, as well as the Beatles, Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones.
September 11th, 2001 Peter Max began a project by finishing 356
portraits of the firefighters that were lost in the attack. His
portraits were then given to the victims' families. In addition,
from a special request from President George W. Bush, he recently
created another 356 portraits for a firefighters' memorial.
Max has worked with oils, acrylics, water colors, finger paints, dyes,
pastels, charcoal, pen, multi-colored pencils, etchings, engravings,
animation cells, lithographs, serigraphs, silk screens, ceramics,
sculpture, collage, video and computer graphics.
He loves to
hear amazing facts about the universe and is as fascinated with numbers
and mathematics as he is with visual phenomena.
"If I didn't
choose art, I would have become an astronomer," states Max, who became
fascinated with astronomy while living in Israel, following a ten-year
upbringing in Shanghai, China. "I became fascinated with the vast
distances in space as well as the vast world within the atom."
early childhood impressions had a profound influence on his psyche,
weaving the fabric that was to become the tapestry of his full creative
expression. He recalls it as a childhood filled with magic and
European born, Peter Max was raised in Shanghai,
China, where he spent his first ten years. He lived in a
pagoda-style house situated amidst a Buddhist monastery, a Sikh temple
and a Viennese cafe. And yet, with all that richness and
diversity of culture, he still had a dream of an adventure yet to come
in a far-off land called America.
From American comic books,
radio broadcasts and cinema shows, young Max formed an impression of
the land of Captain Marvel, Flash Gordon, swing jazz, swashbucklers,
freedom and creativity. But the American adventure was far in the
At the age of ten, Max with his parents traveled
across the vast expanse of China to a Tibetan mountain camp at the
foothills of the Himalayas. Then they journeyed 9,000 feet up to
a beautiful, white-turreted hotel in a mountain paradise that seemed
After their return to Shanghai, the family
left on another voyage of discovery, around India, the continent of
Africa, and Israel, where Max studied art with a Viennese "fauve"
painter. It was in Israel that young Max also developed a love
and fascination for astronomy.
In 1953, he and his family
emigrated to America after a six-month visit to Paris. Though it was a
relatively short stay, he enrolled in an art school and absorbed the
culture and art heritage of Paris. At the age of sixteen, he
realized his childhood vision and arrived in America.
completing high school, he continued his art studies at The Art
Students League, a renowned, traditional academy across from Carnegie
Hall in Manhattan. There, he learned the rigid disciplines of
Realism and developed into a realist painter.
When he left art
school, Max had become fascinated with new trends in commercial
illustration and graphic arts, from America as well as Europe and
Japan. He decided to try his hand at it, and within a short time,
he won awards for album covers and book jackets, which combined his own
brand of realism with graphic art techniques.
Max also admired
the work of contemporary photographers such as Bert Stern, Richard
Avedon, and Irving Penn, which led to his photo collage period, in
which he had captured the psychedelic era of the mid '60s.
the '60s progressed, the photo collages gave way, to his "Cosmic '60s"
style, with its distinctive line work and bold color
combinations. It became his signature style.
style developed as a spontaneous creative urge, following Max's meeting
with Swami Satchidananda, an Indian Yoga master who taught him
meditation and the spiritual teachings of the East.
Max was suddenly on numerous magazine covers, including Life
magazine, and appeared on national TV. Max's visual impact on the
'60s has often been compared to the influence the Beatles had with
In the 1970s, Max gave up his commercial pursuits
and went into retreat to begin painting in earnest. He submersed
himself in his art for several years, and was only induced to come out
of retreat on occasion through special commissions by the Federal
government agencies: the U.S. Border murals, the first 10 U.S. postage
stamp, and projects for the Federal Energy Commission.
For July 4, 1976, Max created a special installation and art book, Peter Max Paints America,
to commemorate America's bicentennial. It was the year Max also
began his annual July 4th tradition of painting the Statue of
Liberty. In 1982, Max painted six Liberties on the White House
lawn, and then personally helped to actualize the statue's restoration,
which was completed in 1986.
In the years that followed, Max
developed his new atelier, with a primary focus on paintings, mixed
media works and limited graphic editions. He was primarily
focused on concerns of environmental, human and animal rights.
He began a series of works called Better World, and created a painting called I love the World, depicting an angel embracing the planet, inspired by his backstage experience at the Live Aid concert.
1989, for the 20th anniversary of Woodstock, Peter Max was asked to
create world's largest rock-and-roll stage for the Moscow Music Peace
Festival. Soon after the festival, in October, 1989, he unveiled
his 40 Gorbys, a colorful homage to Mikhail Gorbachev, then Premier of Russia.
a few weeks later, Communism fell in Eastern Europe, and Max was
selected to receive a 7,000-pound section of the Berlin Wall, which was
installed on the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Intrepid Museum. Using a
hammer and chisel, Max carved a dove from within the stone and placed
it on top of the wall to set it free.
In 1991, Max's one-man
retrospective show at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersberg drew the
largest turnout for any artist in Russian history. Over 14,500
As a painter for four former U.S. Presidents
(Carter, Ford, Bush and Reagan) in 1993, Max was approached by the
inaugural committee to create posters for Bill Clinton's
inauguration. He was later invited to the White House to paint
the signing of the Peace Accord.
Peter Max also directed his
creative energy to important global events and has produced posters for
many such events, including Summit of the Americas, Gorbachev's State
of the World Forum, and the United Nations Earth Summit, for which he
had designed a series of twelve stamps that became the best-selling
stamps in U.N. history. For the U.N.'s 50th anniversary, Max
produced an installation of fifty paintings in different color
combinations of the landmark United Nations Building.
A lover of
music, Max has been designated Official Artist for the Grammys, The
25th Anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and the Woodstock
In the sports arena, Max has been the Official
Artist for five Super Bowls, The World Cup USA, The U.S. Tennis Open
and the NHL All-Star Game.
Always an optimist, Max sees a
fabulous new age for the new millennium, filled with enormous
possibilities. He also sees a need for a greater responsibility
to our planet, and he is ever ready to serve as the "Global Artist."
Betty Webb, representing the artist in her writing titled "Gifted", sent December 2003
|Biography from RoGallery.com:|
|Peter Max was born in Berlin in 1937 but his family moved to China when he was still very young. In fact the young Max would move frequently with his family, learning about a variety of cultures throughout the world while traveling from Tibet to Africa to Israel to Europe until his family moved to the U.S. In American Max was trained at the Art Students League, Pratt Institute, and the School of Visual Arts, all in New York. After closing his design studio in 1964, Peter began creating his characteristic paintings and graphic prints.|
From visionary pop artist of the 1960's, to master of dynamic neo Expressionism, Peter Max and his vibrant colors have become part of the fabric of contemporary American culture. In the 1960's Max rose to youthful prominence with his now-famous Cosmic '60s style, a bold linear type of painting which employed Fauvist use of color and depicted transcendental themes. Peter Max revolutionized art of the 60’s just as the Beatles transformed the music of the decade. As his expressionistic style evolved, becoming more sensuous and painterly, Max’s unique symbolism and vibrant color palette have continued to inspire new generations of Americans throughout the decades. Peter Max is a passionate environmentalist and defender of human and animal rights, often dedicating paintings and posters for these noteworthy causes. He has celebrated our nation's principles of freedom and democracy with his famous paintings of American icons of freedom including Lady Liberty and the American Flag.
Peter Max has received many important commissions including the creation of the first "Preserve the Environment" Postage Stamp commemorating the World's Fair in Spokane, Washington; 235 Border Murals at entry points to Canada and Mexico commissioned by the U.S. General Services; and a painting of each of the 50 states, resulting in a book, Peter Max Paints America in celebration of the Bicentennial. In 1981 he was invited by President and Mrs. Reagan to paint six Liberty portraits at the White House. Max has painted for five U.S. Presidents - Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton. Max has exhibited in over 40 international museums and over 50 galleries, worldwide. His work can be found in many prominent museum and private collections around the world.
In 1981 he painted six liberty portraits for the America President and Mrs. Reagan, and in 1993, his famous ‘100 Clintons’ installation.
Max has had approximately forty museum shows internationally, and more than fifty gallery shows worldwide. His works appear in the prominent collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
|Biography from American Design Ltd.:|
|Peter Max was raised in Shanghai, China where he spent the first 10
years of his life. Young Max formed lasting impressions of Flash
Gordon, Capitan Marvel, jazz, creativity, and freedom from American
comic books, radio broadcasts, and movies. Max and his parents
traveled through the Tibetan mountains, India, Africa and Israel where
Max first studied with a Viennese fauve painter. It was in Israel that
Max developed a keen interest in astronomy, a subject that would later
impact his artwork. |
In 1953, Max and his family moved to the United States, settling in New
York City. After completing high school, Max studied painting at
the Art Students League. He was fascinated with commercial
illustration and the graphic arts, and won awards for his album covers
and book jackets in his unique style.
During the 1960s, Max worked in his psychedelic photo collage period,
which later gave way to his "cosmic" 60s style with its distinctive
line work and bold color combinations. Inspired by his
meditative, spiritual teachings, Max's cosmic art captured the
imagination of a generation and launched Max into fame and
During the 1970s, Max dropped his commercial work and pursued canvas
painting in earnest. For the 1976 Bicentennial, Max created the art
book Peter Max Paints America, and began his annual tradition
of painting the Statue of Liberty. A lover of music, Max has been
designated the Official Artist for the Grammy's, the New Orleans Jazz
Festival and the Woodstock Music Festival.
|Biography from GallArt.com:|
|One of the most famous of all living artist's, Peter Max is also a pop culture icon. His bold colors, uplifting images and an uncommon artistic diversity have touched almost every phase of American culture and has inspired many generations.|
Peter Max has painted for six U.S. Presidents and his art is on display in Presidential Libraries and in U.S. Embassies. Max has painted our Lady Liberty annually since America's Bicentennial and in 2000 a collage of his Liberties adorned over 145 million Verizon phone books.
Max has been named an official artist of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. He has also been Official Artist of 5 Super Bowls, World Cup USA, The World Series, The U.S. Open, The Indy 500, The NYC Marathon and The Kentucky Derby.
In 2002 Abrams Books publishes what would become one of the best-selling art books ever! "The Art Of Peter Max"
"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." ~ Charles Riley III
Max Art Pops Up Everywhere!
His art has flown the skies on a Continental Airlines Boeing 777 Jet. His art installations include an amazing 600-ft stage for the Woodstock Music Festival, a giant mural for the Winter Olympics and 10-ft guitars for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
|Biography from Acquisitions Of Fine Art:|
|Max's art work was a part of the psychedelic movement in graphic design. His work was much imitated in commercial illustration in the late 1960s and early 1970s.He works in multiple media, including oil, acrylics, water colors, fingerpaints, dyes, pastels, charcoal, pen, multi-colored pencils, etchings, engravings, animation cels, lithographs, serigraphs, ceramics, sculpture, collage, video, xerox, fax, and computer graphics. He also includes mass media as a "canvas" for his creative expression.|
Max often uses American symbols in his artwork and has done paintings and projects for presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush. Recently he created his 100 Clintons, a multiple portrait installation whose images were used through the four days of the Presidential inauguration. More recently, Max completed his fourth Grammy-Award poster, redesigned NBC television's symbolic peacock, was appointed as the official artist for the World Cup USA 1994 and created a "Peace Accord" painting for the White House to commemorate a historic signing.
|Biography from Fineartgasm.com:|
|Known throughout the world and a household name in
America, Max is known for his new age style cosmic imagery and
multi-colored blends. During the late 60's and early 70's his colorful
art reached millions of people and he won numerous major awards for his
work. His paintings, drawings and limited edition graphics have been
exhibited in major museums throughout the world.|
Peter Max was born in Berlin, Germany, and spent his childhood in Shanghai. From China, the family went to Tibet for a year, and then on to Israel. His family's odyssey continued to Paris, and finally, at the age of 16, Max arrived in the United States. He began his art studies in New York at the Art Student's League and continued at the Pratt Institute and School of Visual Arts.
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|