Peter Max was born in Berlin and moved to China at the age of one, to spend the first decade of his life there (including a year in Tibet). Afterwards, he and his family embarked on another odyssey by boat around Africa and arrived in Israel at the time of its rebirth. After spending two years there, the journeyed through Europe and finally ended up on the shores of America.
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 shocking color juxtapositions and depicted transcendental themes. As the Beatles transformed the music of the decade, Peter Max did the same for art. As his expressionistic style evolved, becoming more sensuous and painterly, his 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 works that include his famous Liberty paintings and American Flags which he affectionately calls "Flag with a Heart" for a country with a heart.
In 1974 Max was commissioned to create the first "Preserve the Environment" Postage Stamp commemorating the World's Fair in Spokane, Washington. In 1976 U.S. General Services selected Max to paint 235 Border Murals at entry points to Canada and Mexico.That same year, to celebrate the Bicentennial, Max created a painting of each of the 50 states, resulting in a book, "Peter Max Paints America". On the same occasion Max also began a tradition of painting the Statue of Liberty. Every year since, he has celebrated July 4th by painting additional interpretations of the Statue. 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.
In 1989 Max paid homage to Mikhail Gorbacher with his installation, "Forty Gorbys", which was inspired by his trip to Moscow. This led to an important museum tour that started at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersberg in the Spring of 1991 and traveled throughout Russia and other Eastern blo countries as well as Western Europe. Max's opening at the Hermitage drew the largest attendance for an art opening in Soviet history.
In February 1990, Max had two huge sections of the Berlin Wall flown to America and placed on board the' aircraft carrier intrepid. He then carved out a concave dove of peace in the concrete wall and formed a three- dimensional dove in flight from the filings, thus symbolizing the emergence of freedom and hope.
After having worked with the Inaugural Committee on the Presidential Inauguration for which he created his now famous "I 00 Clintons" installation, Max was invited by the White House in 1993 to sketch the historic signing of the lsrael-Palestinian Peace Accord. Later that year while Max was in Washington to open his "Pop to Patriotism" exhibition at The Corcoran Gallery of Art, President Clinton, who was in attendance, referred to Peter as a friend and true American Patriot. He has been called upon by many Governmental Institutions to illustrate special projects including the giant murals which graced the courtyard of the U.S. Pavilion at the Seville World's Fair. The United Nations invited Peter to execute a body of work of twelve postage stamps which became their Official stamp for the first Environmental Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
In 1994, Max was designated Official Artist for World Cup USA '94 and in 1995 was once again named the Official Artist for the Super Bowl and Grammy Awards, the latter honor being bestowed upon Max for a record fifth time. In celebration of America's music, Max was the Official Artist for the 25th Anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz Festival and opened the Woodstock '94 Festival.
Max is merging art with technology through collaborations with Silicon Graphics (the company that created the computer technology for the special effects in Jurassic Park) and the Information Superhighway for which he has created the official symbol. The National Information Infrastructure (info Highway) symbol was recently unveiled at a White House press conference by Vice-President Al Gore.