Peter Blake

Biography of Peter Blake

Peter Blake's iconic Pop Art paintings of the 1960s helped define an entire era. Now into his ninth decade, Blake's collaborative projects and prolific output have made him a living legend and a mentor to many up-and-coming contemporary artists. Combining found objects and printed matter with geometric patterns and bold primary colors, Blake had the ability to capture the extraordinary ethos of the swinging sixties. What singles him out from many of his contemporaries is the freshness and vigor of his work—even today it possesses an innate modernity.

 

A torchbearer for the European Pop Art movement, Peter Blake's hugely influential On the Balcony, 1955 illustrates his ability to combine images from pop culture with fine art—although appearing like a collage, it is in fact all painted. The artist's witty response to Jasper John, The First Real Target 1961 and his close working relationship with celebrity gallerist Robert Fraser, helped establish Blake as the figurehead of a British Pop Art movement as well as securing his place at the pinnacle of the achingly cool London of the 1960s.

 

Peter Blake has always managed to move seamlessly between mediums and will probably be best remembered for the continued impact of his Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band 1967 album cover for The Beatles. Featuring a host of celebrities and significant personages, it is the most influential and significant album cover ever made and Blake was paid 300$ for his effort. He has gone on to design covers for Band Aid, The Who, Robbie Williams, Oasis, and Ian Drury.


Peter Blake became a Royal Academician in 1981 and was knighted as a Knight Bachelor for his services to art in 2002. The Sir Peter Blake Music Art Gallery, Leeds University was opened by the artist in 2005, exhibiting 20 examples of Blake's groundbreaking sleeve art. Blake has been the subject of two retrospectives, at the Tate in 1983 and at Tate Liverpool in 2007. Born in Dartford, Kent in 1932, Blake now resides in Chiswick, West London.

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