A rare commercial exhibition of Peter Paul Piech prints to open at Waterhouse & Dodd.
Over 70 provocative woodcut and linocut prints sourced from a private collection.
Exhibition dates: 22 November - 17 December 2016. 47 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JW
Peter Paul Piech (1920-1996) was a Brooklyn (NY) born artist who spent most of his professional career in Britain. Over 5 decades he produced a dazzling number of original prints on social, political and literary themes. He combined innovative typesetting with original artwork and bold colours in a style quite unlike any other artist. The largest collection of his work is in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, but commercial exhibitions are exceptionally rare. Our interest came from a chance introduction to the artists’ works by a private London collector while researching an entirely different exhibition.
The themes in Piech’s work range from highlighting social and racial injustice to a heathy contempt of the political classes, with particular ire directed at President Nixon. Our collection was almost entirely produced in the 1970s. Often idealistic and packing a brutal punch, his work had a softer side as evidenced by his love of literature, particular Pablo Neruda and Mark Twain. His works were executed quickly and designed to be dispersed equally quickly. Some prints were in editions of 75 although not all were completed, and many were unique.
Jamie Anderson of Waterhouse & Dodd comments: “The design work is so original it cannot help but feel contemporary, and although Piech was commenting on events 40 years ago, many themes seem eerily prescient now. Although clearly angry at times, Piech was balanced in his approach. Whilst Nixon was attacked, the youthful idealism of Kennedy is praised, so his anti-establishment message was always nuanced and targeted.”
Piech’s imagery occasionally caused problems for him. In 1979 the American Embassy formally complained over his appropriation of the United States flag, however shortly afterwards the Library of Congress acquired a print of Nixon with the work ‘Dicktator’ inscribed above. He is remembered more fondly by the many students he taught at Chelsea School of Art, the London College of Printing and Leicester College (where he work alongside Edward Bawden). We hope our exhibition will help launch the market for this most original and commercially neglected of artists.