Peter Beard: A Wild Life
Visceral, masculine and captivating, this unique photographic collage by Peter Beard perfectly demonstrates his mastery of pushing photography to the edge. Blurring the boundaries between photography, painting and collage, the present lot combines Beard’s incredible portrait of a pride of lions, taken in 1976 in Tanzania, accompanied by additional photographs from his long and storied career along the margins. The collage is then embellished with animal blood that he used to frame the central image with his hand, the mark of which is seen along the lower right edge.
Beard’s unique practice of revisiting images of wildlife taken while living in Africa, beginning in the 1960s, and re-presenting them as assemblages, has given his images a new life, offering a contemporary context for his dynamic work.
—Courtesy of Phillips
Overall 30 x 40 in. (76.2 x 101.6 cm)
Signature: Signed, dated and extensively annotated in ink on the recto.
Bowermaster, The Adventures and Misadventures of Peter Beard in Africa, front and back interior cover spreads.
Taschen, Peter Beard, pl. 188
Peter Studio, New York
Known for his fashion photography and striking images of Africa, Peter Beard’s photographs of sub-Saharan fauna and New York City nightlife in the 1970s and ’80s represent a sustained engagement with a libidinal power. Beard’s interest in Africa can be traced to his trips to the continent in the 1950s and ’60s, which he viewed as escapes from the high society into which he was born. During the 1970s, Beard began working for fashion magazines and became a fixture at Studio 54. Although separated by an ocean, both bodies of work are concerned with a certain kind of brutality and virulence. Beard later turned to photo-collage to bridge these two oeuvres, adding elements such as news clippings and his own blood to further explicate the themes of violence.
American, b. 1938, New York, New York