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Peter Blake

Dartfort (Kent) 1932


From 1946 to 1951 the British painter and illustrator Peter Thomas Blake attended Gravesend Technical College and School of Art and then transfered to the Royal College of Art in London, which he left in 1956.
Peter Blake's early work is dominated by two major subjects: fantastic scenes from the world of the circus and naturalistic paintings with autobiographic elements.
The imitation of the popular image world of event posters, which Blake combined with portraits, was typical of his work. Circus characters and children reading comic books are among the artist's typical motifs. In style and content both types of pictures paved the way for English Pop Art. Thanks to a Leverhulme scholarship, Peter Blake had the opportunity to travel through Europe from 1956 to 1957, where he acquainted himself with the artistic trends of the time.
In 1959, inspired by reproductions by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, Blake began to paint collage-like pictures of pop musicians and filmstars and to produce assemblages made of recycled material, postcards and other items. Alongside his collages Blake also worked with the medium of imitation: Painted collages, imitated pin-up-boards and locker doors, enlarged, painted postcard motifs and painted adaptations of posters appeared. The cover design for the Beatles album "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1967) was one of his greatest successes.
In 1975 Peter Blake was one of the founding members of the "Brotherhood of Ruralists". His imagery changed under the influence of this group of artists and his rural surroundings in Wellow on Avon. The members expected life in the country to provide them with new artistic impulses and moral renewal. Just like the pre-Raffaelites, they strove for an aesthetic permeation of all parts of life. Childhood memories, fairy tales and elves, depicted in realistic style using techniques of the old masters, became his favourite subjects.


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