Born in Berlin, Max fled Germany with his parents in 1938 and emigrated to Shanghai, China. The family lived in Tibet, India, South Africa, Italy then settled in Israel in 1948. After attending art school in Paris for 9 months, he then moved to Brooklyn in 1953.
Although he did not participate in the project, Yellow Submarine, a 1968 animated film based on music by The Beatles, may have been influenced by his work, although the origins of the style are not clear.
He works in multiple media, including oil, acrylics, water colors, fingerpaints, dyes, pastels, charcoal, pen, multi-colored pencils, etchings, engravings, animation cels, lithographs, serigraphs, ceramics, sculpture, collage, video, xerox, fax, and computer graphics. He also includes mass media as a "canvas" for his creative expression.
Max often uses American symbols in his artwork and has done paintings and projects for Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush. Recently he created his 100 Clintons, a multiple portrait installation whose images were used through the four days of the Presidential inauguration. More recently, Max completed his fourth Grammy-Award poster, redesigned NBC television's symbolic peacock, was appointed as the official artist for the World Cup USA 1994 and created a "Peace Accord" painting for the White House to commemorate a historic signing.
His artwork is currently on the walls of CBS's morning show, "The Early Show."
Max owns a collection of 36 Chevrolet Corvettes, dating from 1956 to 1989, one for each year.
Peter Max is an environmentalist and defender of human and animal rights.
In 1997 Max pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and tax evasion. He was sentenced to two months in prison and 800 hours of community service.
Peter Max was in the news in 2002 when he offered to provide a life of green fields for Cinci Freedom, a cow that escaped from an Ohio slaughterhouse. The cow leapt over a six-foot fence while the slaughterhouse workers were on break and eluded capture for eleven days. "This little girl's will—facing the end of her life, being so frightened, then taking the risk of all risks to live, to be free—touched me so deeply," Max was quoted as saying, "It was so inspiring. I knew I had to try to preserve that wonderful spirit." Max donated $180,000 worth of his art to benefit the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to ensure her a long life of peace at a New York Farm Sanctuary.
Ralph Marlin swimming into luxury tie market; Peter Max to do silk neckwear collection that will range from $60 to $1,000.
Dec 22, 1997; PETER MAX TO DO SILK NECKWEAR COLLECTION THAT WILL RANGE FROM $60 TO $1,000 NEW YORK -- Eleven years after his polyester "fish...