This Week’s Cover Artist: Peter Max, a Fourth of July Tradition

July 4 2021 Dan's Papers cover by Peter Max
Peter Max's art on the cover of the July 2, 2021 Dan's Papers issue

In 1976, legendary artist Peter Max began his tradition of painting the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July. And in 2003, a new Fourth of July tradition was started, which saw his psychedelic works of Americana gracing the holiday issue of Dan’s Papers every year since.

Speaking on Max’s behalf to discuss his stunning 2021 cover and latest news is Liz Derringer, a Hamptons resident who has worked and collaborated with Max and his studio for over 30 years. The two worked together on many of his high-profile projects including his art for the Grammy Awards, the World Cup, the Super Bowl and many of his other global event projects.

What is the name of this spectacular piece, and what’s the story behind it?

Peter Max’s “A Summer of Freedom” is his magical dreamscape with exuberant, colorful characters that celebrate the magnificence of America, freedom of expression and joy.

What makes this piece such an ideal fit for the 2021 Fourth of July Dan’s Papers cover?

This summer and July 4th is very special. It’s a time of new appreciation for our freedoms after the past year. It’s a time to fully acknowledge and be grateful for what it means to be free. I think this piece expresses that appreciation.

It makes us want to run in the sun, breathe the air, look at the stars, take it all in.

Peter Max paints Statue of Liberty
Peter Max paints the Statue of Liberty from a boat in the New York harbor in 1987. ©ALP, Inc

Where can the timeless art of Peter Max be seen in the coming weeks, both online and up close?

During COVID, when galleries were closed, the Peter Max Studio began working directly with our collectors and fans. We began a series of live online gallery shows. We had no idea how special and meaningful this would be to Max collectors and to us.

We had the opportunity to get to know Peter Max fans from cities and towns across the country that we never would have had a chance to meet before. We met their families at these interactive online events and saw their Max paintings in their homes. It was very special for us. We were able to help collectors find the painting of their dreams directly from the Peter Max Studio.

Now that things are opened back up, we’re looking forward to continuing these special relationships. Buying directly from the Artist’s Studio is a special opportunity and means so much to us. Friends, fans and collectors can contact us and explore Peter’s art at petermax.com.

We’re also excited to continue working with our wonderful gallery partners. They have opened back up and so have the museums. The Poster House museum in New York City is exhibiting Peter’s early works in poster art from the 1960s this fall. This will be an in-depth exploration into Peter Max’s seminal and culture-defining posters.

There are Peter Max retrospective exhibitions also coming up at LaMantia Gallery in Raleigh and Off the Wall Gallery in Houston this summer.

'Monk with Sun' Peter Max
‘Monk with Sun’ by Peter Max ©ALP, Inc

Of the fine art available in the Peter Max online shop, are there any works considered the rarest or most elusive prior to the poster shop’s 2020 addition of fine art?

Some of Peter Max’s most treasured pieces and extraordinary works are now featured in the online shop. There are his stunning, mid-career pieces like “Rococo Heart” and “Monk and Sun” that are lesser known and more elusive. We’re also showing never-before-seen portraits, color studies and collector first-day-of-issue envelopes with Peter’s commissioned stamp art and hand-colored drawings in pen and wash. There are phenomenal hand-colored etchings that are rarely shown in galleries. It’s a wonderfully eclectic collection in the online shop, and it’s always changing.

Tell us about some of the posters, books and other Peter Max items to be found in the revamped online shop.

Peter’s wonderful Abrams coffee table book, The Art of Peter Max, is a must-have for any Max collector. It’s visually stunning with hundreds of color image plates. The Universe of Peter Max is Peter’s personal and illustrated memoir of his life. It tells of his journey from a young artist and his life and work through the decades to today. It’s a fascinating read. Both art books are available in the new online shop.

His rare, out-of-print and collectible museum catalogs from his Eastern European Museum Tour and his Berlin Museum Retrospective have recently been made available in the online shop, as well.

Peter Max’s hand-signed and dedicated, rare and vintage posters from his collage and cosmic periods—definitive works like “Different Drummer” and “Apollo 11 Moon Landing” are available in the online shop. His psychedelic collage poster “Kaleidoscopic Lips” and his cosmic “Instant Nutriment 2” are also featured. These are historic and collectable Max pieces that defined a generation.

Peter Max is the most prolific artist of the century. His commissioned poster art for global events and milestones is something to be in awe of. Max’s poster collection in the online shop is a tour through his passions and projects—from his 9/11 posters, a response to the tragedy and tribute to our country, to his commissioned posters for Earth Day, Woodstock and the Super Bowl, and so many more.

'Liberty' by Peter Max
‘Liberty’ by Peter Max ©ALP, Inc

Is there anything else Peter Max would like to share with our readers?

Peter has loved doing Dan’s July 4th covers—for 18 years now! It’s hard to believe. It’s such a wonderful tradition. He has always loved the natural beauty of the East End and its culture—the artists, the craftspeople, the farm stands and the incredible light, water and landscape that has inspired so much creativity. We are thrilled to share his cover art again with all of Dan’s readers, bringing a little more color and joy to everyone’s Fourth of July.

For more information about Peter Max art, contact his studio at 212-874-6700, [email protected] and be sure to check out petermax.com.

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