Meet the renowned American painter Peter Saul in his New York studio, working on paintings for his 2015 solo exhibition at Mary Boone Gallery, NYC.
For over sixty years Peter Saul has created compellingly idiosyncratic paintings that skirt the boundary of easy classification. Politics, war, religion, history, class, race – Saul’s paintings take on lofty subjects but quickly lose amplitude when met with his deranged compositions, grotesque anatomies, lurid color, and debased humor.
In the current exhibition, Saul re-imagines masterworks from art history. Mindful of his time as an impressionable young artist in Paris in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he favors icons of French academic painting. Alexandre Cabanel’s “The Birth of Venus” (Musée d’Orsay, Paris), Jacques-Louis David’s “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” (versions at the Château de Malmaison and the Palace of Versailles), Hyacinthe Rigaud’s full-length portrait “Louis XIV” and Théodore Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa” (both in the Louvre), are all subjugated by Saul’s overhaul.
Peter Saul (b 1934) is an American painter. His work has connections with Pop Art, Surrealism, and Expressionism. His early use of pop culture cartoon references in the late 1950s and very early 1960s situates him as one of the fathers of the Pop Art movement.
The critic Holland Cotter in a 2008 New York Times review of a retrospective of his work called Saul "a classic artist’s artist, one of our few important practicing history painters and a serial offender in violation of good taste". Saul’s work has often been independent of specific art movements and thus he "has spent a lifetime avoiding easy critical definition".
In 2010 Saul was elected to the American Academy of Art and Letters. His work is in many collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Whitney Museum of American Art, Yale University Art Gallery and the Carnegie Museum of Art.
Peter Saul | filmed by Out of Sync | NYC June 2015
Interview | Jesper Bundgaard
Camera and edit | Per Henriksen
Producer | Out of Sync
Artworks courtesy | Peter Saul
© Out of Sync 2015