An epistolary history of postwar American art through the mind of Peter Saul.
Painter Peter Saul (born 1934), considered one of the founding fathers of pop art but certainly not reducible to that movement, is best known for his paintings in Day-Glo hues satirizing American culture. He is currently the subject of a retrospective at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Saul was born and raised in Northern California, attended Washington University, lived in Europe from 1956 to 1964, and then settled in Marin County from 1964 to 1975. The story of Saul’s development in these crucial years is narrated by the artist himself in Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945-1976. The letters in this volume, first to Saul’s parents and then to his art dealer, Allan Frumkin, are intimate and wide-ranging, full of the same kind of observations that make Saul’s work so compelling. Working closely with the artist, Dan Nadel selected and annotated these letters, elucidating Saul’s references and biography.
Throughout the years covered in this book Saul was concerned not only with making his work but also making his life as an artist. The book is therefore the story of an artist finding his voice and then attempting to understand and participate in “the art world,” as Saul worked to create his own category. Taken together, the letters in this book form not just an autobiography of the artist, but a memoir of American art history at a critical moment.
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