Sir Peter Blake (b. 1932) is widely considered the “Godfather of Pop Art,” having a career which spans more than 50 years. Blake is well-known for creating the album cover of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. His paintings, drawings, prints, and collages draw on popular culture imagery, from sports to music to film to celebrity. Considered iconic imagery, Blake’s work has a particular ability to translate the social preoccupations of the time, while belonging to a long tradition of figurative realism. Influences include Victorian imagery, myth, folk art, and vintage illustration.
Blake’s first solo exhibition was held in 1962. Mary Ryan Gallery held a solo show featuring his work in 2010. His first major retrospective opened in 1969 at the City Art Gallery, Bristol. Subsequent retrospectives were held at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1973), which toured to Hamburg and Brussels, and at the Tate Gallery, London (1983). Tate Liverpool held a major retrospective of his work in 2007, which traveled to Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao the following year. His work is in the major collections of Hayward Gallery, London; Baltimore Museum of Art; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Royal College of Art, London; Sintra Museum of Modern Art, Portugal; Tate, London; Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection; and Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Born in Dartford, Kent, Blake studied at the Gravesend School of Art before attending the Royal College of Art in London. He graduated in 1956, having completed his National Service, and received the Leverhulme Research Award to study popular art while traveling to Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, and Spain. He taught for a number of years in various London art schools, including St Martins and the Royal College of Art, while continuing to work and exhibit. “Peter Blake: One Man Show” by Marco Livingstone was published in 2009.
Blake was elected as a member of the Royal Academy in 1981. He was later knighted in 2002 as a KBE for his service in art. He currently lives and works in London.