Lawrenceville gallery to host first-time sale of Peter Max posters

Fans of Peter Max have an opportunity to purchase never-before-available posters from the pop artist whose bright, bold works are synonymous with the 1960s and ’70s pop culture.

“The Peter Max Experience,” a boutique collection of some of Max’s iconic works, will have a limited engagement in the Christine Frechard Gallery at 5126 Butler St. in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.

The exhibition opens with a reception from 4 to 7 pm May 7 and runs through May 15. Receptions also are planned for 5-8 pm May 14 and noon-3 pm May 15.

“Since this summer, we have had access from (Max’s) studio to vintage posters done in the ’60s and ’70s, and signed and dated by Peter in the ’60s and ’70s, which is very exciting,” said curator Lesley Smith . “Having the posters is brand new and something we never thought we’d be able to have as part of a show.”

The show is curated by the traveling art exhibition organizer, Road Show Co. Smith, a longtime associate of the artist that will accompany the collection.

In addition to the posters, the show will offer a selection of Max’s acrylic paintings on paper and canvas and mixed-media posters overlaid with acrylic paint. All featured artworks will be for sale.

This will be Frechard’s third Peter Max show. The first took place in 2014 in her former Squirrel Hill location, which the artist attended, and the second was in 2019 in the Lawrenceville gallery.

“We choose galleries around the country that are well-established and fit the mold of what we think will represent Peter in the best way possible,” Smith said. “Christine has been that for us in Pittsburgh.”

Trained as a graphic artist, the German-born Max, 84, is known for his psychedelic and pop art in vivid colors, including images of celebrities, politicians, athletes, sporting events and other popular culture subjects.

Max has been the official artist of the five Super Bowls, World Cup USA, the World Series, the US Open, The Indianapolis 500, the New York City Marathon and the Kentucky Derby. He created the first “Preserve the Environment” stamp commemorating Expo ’74, the 1974 World’s Fair in Spokane, Wash.

“Peter paints very quickly,” Smith said. “Nothing takes a long time, but there’s a lot of movement and motion, and he paints to loud rock and roll music. It’s a whole scene, the creating of the artwork.

“Everything he’s believed in over these 50-something years of painting is just as relevant today as it was at the beginning. He’s all about peace and love and protecting the planet,” she added. “He really was before his time.”

The Pittsburgh shows have been well-received, Frechard said.

“Peter has a lot of followers here — mostly an older crowd, I would say, mostly people who experienced the ’60s and ’70s, mostly who are contemporaries of his time,” she said. “And they are so excited to come to see his artwork. It’s so vibrant, so colorful; his presence transpires through the artwork.”

Frechard noted that the gallery has received about a dozen of Max’s works ahead of the show opening. She is able to offer those specific pieces at a discount until April 30.

“Since I have the artwork prior to the show, now I have the flexibility to give a discount to my patrons. After May 1, (Road Show Co.) takes over and all the sales will go through them,” she said. “So now is a good time to start checking it out.”

Discounted prices on some of the smaller works start at around $3,000. During the official exhibition, prices will range up to $85,000, Smith said.

“It’s very uplifting for people to come and see a Peter Max show now, because the world is so gray,” Frechard said. “We need this uplifting, colorful, vibrant artwork. When I’m moody and I come to my gallery and look at the art, it makes me feel joyful – especially Peter Max.

“It has a lot of joie de vivre.”

All events during the exhibition are free; although reservations are requested at 412-407-9319 or Private and virtual appointments to view the artwork are available on request.

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Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, or via Twitter .

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