By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta
Peace, love, and color was the theme at the Wentworth Gallery, located in the Short Hills Mall, on Sat., Nov. 26, where a crowd of art lovers gathered to see and purchase originals created by the legendary Peter Max.
The gallery was adorned with Peter Max’s work. Wines of red and white were served to everyone who visited the gallery, creating a community atmosphere that Max’s paintings depict.
Whoever purchased an original, was led behind the red velvet rope to meet Max, who autographed the back of the paintings.
Known for his brilliant, popping colors and elevated imageries, Max is considered one of the most famous of all living artists and an icon in pop culture. His one-man museum exhibitions have had record-breaking attendance.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s his artwork was originally associated with the counter culture, neo-expressionism and psychedelic movements in graphic design. Max works in multimedia including: painting, drawing, etchings, collage, print making, sculpture, video and digital imagery.
Donna Porto of Holmdel came to the Wentworth Gallery to buy an original. She considered herself a new fan and didn’t know much about him at all, she said.
“I love the colors, brightness, everything!” said Porto. “It was exciting [meeting Max and purchasing an original painting]. He’s nice.”
Porto’s friend Lori Harris of Sayreville said she was a Peter Max fan since the 1970s. “He’s so unassuming and quiet,” she said, adding, “He’s magic.”
Steve Vetrero of Rockaway was a fan of the artist since the 1970s. He said that once he pays off his son’s college bill he’ll purchase one of Max’s smaller pieces. Vetrero learned about the artist by reading books.
“He’s very interesting, very spiritual,” Vetrero said. “He got into the inner universe.”
Vetrero said that his daughter, Kimberly, has Max’s famous “Love” piece tattooed on her back.
Throughout Max’s career, he’s featured images of celebrities, politicians, athletes, sporting events and other pop culture subjects. A lively Peter Max design is featured on one of Continental Airlines’ Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.
Max has painted for six U.S. Presidents. His art is on display in Presidential Libraries and in U.S. Embassies. Since America’s Bicentennial, Max has painted the Lady Liberty annually. In 2000, a collage of his Liberties adorned more than 145 million Verizon phone books.
In 2006, Max had been named an official artist of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. He’s also been an official artist of five Super Bowls, World Cup USA, The World Series, The U.S. Open, The Indy 500, The NYC Marathon and The Kentucky Derby.
Max has a permanent exhibition at the Wentworth Galleries in the U.S.
In 2013 Harper Collins published a book of the artist’s memoirs and thoughts called “The Universe of Peter Max.”
Max lives in New York City, is an environmentalist, vegan, and defender of human and animal rights. He has two adult children, Adam Cosmo Max and Libra Astro Max.
For more information on Max, visit: https://www.petermax.com/.