Blake’s work carries a distinct and uniquely British Pop aesthetic, coupled with an acute awareness of American Pop culture. The emergence in the 1960s of a proliferating youth culture meant that postcards, magazines and record sleeves became legitimate source materials for art-making. Blake regarded the mass produced products of the new pop culture as descendants of the popular arts of the past. As such he looked to America for inspiration, film stars such as Marilyn Monroe, represented here by an inkjet and diamond dust print, and pop stars such as Elvis Presley, who in Blake’s lenticular is spirited away to Paris. In the UK popular culture also included weekly visits to wrestling matches and the Circus when it came to town, both populated by extraordinary fictitious characters which fed into his work, represented here by hand coloured etchings of the glamorous ‘Ms Super ★’ and ‘The African Queen’, as well as three international clowns ‘Popov’, ‘Coco’ and ‘Grock’.
Detail from 'Elvis Two Rivers', 2014
If I had not been an artist, I would like to have been a wrestler, and more specifically Kendo Nagasaki.
Peter Blake signing 'Elvis Two Rivers', 2014
Peter Blake hand-colouring 'Ms Super ★', 2010
'Popov' etching plate and photo, 2019
Sir Peter Blake, considered one of the pioneers of British pop art had his first solo exhibition in 1962 at the Portal Gallery and has shown internationally ever since. His first Retrospective exhibition was held as early as 1969 at the City Art Gallery, Bristol. Subsequent Retrospectives were held in 1973 at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, touring to Hamburg and Brussels and at the Tate Gallery (1983). In 1994 he was made the Third Associate Artist of the National Gallery, London. He was elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1981, and was knighted in 2002.