Peter and Sally Saul on How to Thrive as a Creative Couple
Image rights: di Rosa collection, Napa.
A Pop art predecessor who helped pave the way to neo-Surrealism, Peter Saul is known for his luridly colored, contrarian depictions of popular culture and political history. In the 1950s and '60s, reacting against Abstract Expressionism's seriousness and influenced by Surrealist Roberto Matta, Saul began to paint everyday objects like iceboxes, steaks, and toilets in bright colors, along with political works like his series of graphic, cartoonish “Vietnam” paintings (1960s), which though had no clear moral message or political agenda, were evidently anti-Vietnam War. (“I want praise for my art, not for some political opinion I might have,” Saul has said.) Jumbling references like Mickey Mouse, Ethel Rosenberg, and Willem de Kooning, his work also includes darkly humorous self-portraits like Oedipus Junior (1983), in which the artist simultaneously pierces his eye with a paintbrush and castrates himself.
American, b. 1934, San Francisco, California, based in New York, New York