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The Art of Peter Max Hardcover – October 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810932709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810932708
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.2 x 12.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pop artist Max, like his contemporary Andy Warhol, had his artistic way with iconic figures: while Warhol captured Marilyn and Liz in Day-Glo glory, Max caught the visages of the Statue of Liberty, the Mona Lisa and George Washington in vibrant Technicolor (they both took a turn with Mick Jagger). But Max is the softer character in both art and life: his canvases are happier, swirlier, and he's a lot less hip. Perhaps it's his unabashed patriotism and his thorough endorsement by the establishment (though not necessarily the art world establishment). Max has painted Lady Liberty on the White House lawn, been named the official artist for the Grammys, the United Nations Earth Summit and five Superbowls, and had his paintings grace the covers of People, U.S. News & World Report and Manhattan's Yellow Pages-twice. This big, bright coffee table book shows Max's work in all of its wild energy, from his psychedelic posters (dorm room favorites) to his more recent forays into abstraction. Riley's accompanying text is appropriately heavy on the biographical detail and light on any high-falutin' art criticism, an approach perfectly appropriate for a volume celebrating one of history's most buoyantly middlebrow and accessible artists. Over 350 color plates.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Peter Max created a delirium of gorgeously imaginative and technically innovative posters and album covers during the sixties that perfectly capture the liberating power of rock and roll in brilliant colors, kaleidoscopic patterns-within-patterns, and bold, art deco-inspired graphics. But as instantly recognizable as Max's work is, his life story is not well known, and what a tale it is. Brilliantly hued reproductions of his prismatic and enchanting work are accompanied by equally energized and enlightening commentary as Riley recounts Max's family's prescient move from Berlin, where he was born in 1937, to Shanghai, where Max was profoundly influenced by Buddhist art, comic books, and astronomy, on to Israel then New York, the city Max celebrates in so many works, especially his colorful Statue of Liberty series. After studying at the Art Students League, Max opened his own design studio and--wham!--he was an instant success. His euphoric work, cogently analyzed by Riley, was everywhere; he appeared on the cover of Life magazine and The Tonight Show, and then he left it all behind to paint in splendid isolation for a decade. Since then the ebullient Max has reclaimed celebrity status (well documented in photographs) and continues to paint with pleasure and verve. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Great coffee table book.
Sunset Art Distributors
Excellent book on the life of Peter Max and his art work from his early days through about 2010.
Sputnik
Great to have this book for ideas in color and design.
Patricia Wright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Colin Klein on December 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
First off I want to correct the often repeated false statement in a previous review: Heinz Edelman was the artist behind The Beatles Yellow Submarine, Peter Max had absolutely nothing to do with it, and was in no way the inspiration behind it. Edelman was already doing Yellow Sub style art before Max's style became famous. For the complete background read "Inside the Yellow Submarine".
That said, this is a wonderful, long over due collection of the art of Peter Max. I don't think this book could have been printed any better, it is stunning. For me, the only thing that could make it better would be to add even more pages of art. The classic 60s-70s period gets the short end of the stick being overshadowed by the newer works. It is all beautiful work either way, but my preference would have been for more of the older pieces.
People will be magnetically drawn to this sitting on your coffee table. This is also a great companion to "The Art of Rock" the 2-ton book of classic old Fillmore concert posters that was out about 15 years ago. They don't make art like this anymore...unfortunately.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By visual books vera on August 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This edition I had was printed in Japan, notwithstanding the quality of the prints, pages and the cover were stunning!

Unfortunately I was hoping for more of Peter Max's psychedelic artwork & merchandise which he was most remembered for, as the book featured most his more recent paintings and his penchant for the Statue of Liberty & American icons. In fact I bought the book as a reference for 60s color scheme & rock posters but retro artwork added up to abt 30 odd pages out of the 240...

I'm thinking contemporary fine-art artists/lovers might take to this book with more enthusiasm than illustrators or graphic designers, despite this, the book still manages to inspire me with Max's whimsical use of paint colors and his contribution to society.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By H. Row on November 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Everyone knows the genius of Peter Max and the fun of his art. I won't presume to review either. Instead, let's talk about the book! Beautiful printing on quality paper. The included commentary and history put a perspective to each piece of art that most readers wouldn't have otherwise. Peter Max inspired my wife to become an artist. She'll cherish this book for years to come. If you are a Max fan, so will you. As all coffee table books are, a bit pricey but an excellent work to enjoy again and again!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Max's influence was strongest in the 1960's when his style influenced everything from the Pop generation look to the Beatles film, "The Yellow Submarine." I became most of aware of Max's work as a resident of New York City after 9/11, when streetpost banners with his art tout the city's great landmarks, such as Lincoln Center and the Empire State Building.
This book is the first published collection I've seen, save for a couple of European books and one he did in 1976, that shows the breadth of his work. The son of immigrant parents, Max's later work seems to be most strongly associated with his renditions of American icons, such as the Statue of Liberty and the American flag. Some of his work, such as his Amazon-influenced "Better World" series, is stunning. Other work, such as Umbrella Man and Zero don't appeal to me quite as much. Back in the 60's, I think he was known mostly for his bold colors and psychadelic images. But environmentalism plays a bigger role in his late 80s and 90s work. His posters for the Rainforest Foundation and 1992 Earth Summit are stunning examples of this.
There's never been anyone quite like Peter Max, for better or for worse. I'd highly recommend this book to even casual fans as the reproductions are beautifully done and the vibrant colors leap off the page. Patrick O'Connell, NYC
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Roberts on December 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This isn't a book that you'd just pick up and read by any means. It does have some nice biographical information on Max, but it's so generic and propaganda is it's disgusting.
If you're a Peter Max fan and collect his art this book is a must have for you coffee table/book shelf. Has a great selection of his work reproduced nicely for viewing.
If you're looking for information about Max, who actually seems to be one of the harder living artists to find FACTUAL information about , this is not the book you're looking for.
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By Andy Shuping on September 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Peter Max is an iconic figure in the world of Pop Art creating portraits and parodies of everything from the Statue of Liberty to the Mona Lisa on everything from large canvases to the sides of airplanes. Max's art is made of bright vibrant swirling colors that make one feel...happy to be alive. This big coffee table book has accompanying essays that discuss Max's life and work and place him in the context of history, but it's an easy to read essay and fun to read. But the big selling point of this book is the fantastic illustrations found throughout the book, from the splash pages to the very end. Every photograph captures the intensity and vibrancy of Max's work and make it easy to see why he's so well known.
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By Lisa Blumer on June 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is wonderful book and for me it was a great companion piece after seeing Peter Max's America at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. I was disappointed a book or poster wasn't available at the exhibit. However, this more than makes up for it. Many of the pieces I saw in the exhibit are included the book. It's hard cover and the dust jacket has some great metallic inks with embossing.

It is displayed prominently on my coffee table for perusal. I thoroughly recommend this book for anyone who appreciates books that are aesthetically pleasing besides being informative.
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More About the Author

Charles A. Riley II, PhD is an arts journalist, curator and professor at the City University of New York. He is the author of twenty-eight books on art, architecture and public policy, including The Art of Lincoln Center (Wiley), as well as the essay for the recently published Opera Portraits, an art project that involved photographing singers backstage at major opera houses. He has also written The Jazz Age in France, The Art of Peter Max, Arthur Carter, Ben Schonzeit (all published by Abrams) as well as Aristocracy and the Modern Imagination, The Saints of Modern Art, and Color Codes (all from the University Press of New England), and Sacred Sister (in collaboration with the noted avant-garde theater director Robert Wilson). He is curator-at-large at the Nassau County Museum of Art and has presented exhibitions devoted to Picasso, Surrealism and contemporary art, and has written dozens of exhibition catalogue essays and his articles on art have appeared in several magazines, including Art & Auction, Art & Antiques and Antiques and Fine Art. He is a former reporter for Fortune magazine and former editor-in-chief of WE magazine, and has participated in cultural policy and educational think tanks internationally. A graduate (summa cum laude) of Princeton University, he received his PhD from The Graduate Center of City University of New York. He resides in Manhattan and Cutchogue, New York.

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