Exhibition Guide

Peter Blake Kandy 1963–5

Peter Blake
Kandy 1963–5

© Peter Blake 2007. All rights reserved, DACS

A highly influential and original artist, Peter Blake is often described as the godfather of British Pop art. Focusing on Blake’s two-dimensional works, this exhibition presents a comprehensive survey of his rich and diverse oeuvre from the late 1940s to the present day.

At the core of Blake’s work is an ever-present fascination with the world of popular culture and entertainment, including music, film and sports. His pioneering images of the 1950s and 1960s, including Self-Portrait with Badges 1961 and The Beatles 1963–8, are iconic both within art history and popular imagination. Yet Blake’s work goes far beyond this.

From his earliest work of the 1950s, Blake’s paintings and drawings have been fundamental to the traditions of figurative Realism in this country and abroad. His engagement with the Victorian imagination, myth and folklore during the 1970s as a Ruralist continued his nostalgic pursuit of a dream world while introducing a new cast of characters and themes. Since the 1980s, a substantial body of work has developed out of an increasingly conceptual and self-evaluative practice.

Peter Blake was born in Dartford, Kent in 1932. He studied at the Gravesend School of Art from 1949 to 1951 and at the Royal College of Art, London from 1953 to 1956. His first solo exhibition was held in 1962 at the Portal Gallery, London and he has since exhibited extensively throughout the world. Blake was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1981 and awarded a C.B.E. in 1983. He received a Knighthood in 2002.