Peter Saul: Important Early Works – FIAC
October 19 - 22, 2017
Grand Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008, Paris
980 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10075
(Paris, France) – VENUS is pleased to present Peter Saul: Important Early Works, an exhibition for FIAC 2017 dedicated to a group of works by Peter Saul, produced between 1966 and 1987. The presentation will feature a set of large-format paintings on paper, as well as a monumental work on canvas, from the estate of Allan Frumkin, Saul’s longtime dealer. Peter Saul: Important Early Works marks the first presentation of this series of paintings on paper since they were exhibited at the Frumkin Gallery in the early 1980s.
Since the 1960s, Peter Saul has made ecstatic works with vibrant acrylic paint that push against the boundaries of “good” painting. Saul’s oeuvre is marked by a studied disregard for the conventions of proper taste, and his work often incorporates psychedelic depictions of contentious political situations. On view in the presentation is a monumental canvas from 1967, entitled G.I. Christ, one of the most important pictures from his series of paintings addressing the Vietnam War. The canvas depicts a deformed Green Beret surrounded by a green aura, pointing at his watch that reads, “I died for you guys.” Crucified like the Son of God, Saul’s casualty of the Vietnam War has gone to a hallucinogenic heaven, surrounded by colorful planets and foreign moons. From the same period, two large-format works on board – Red Hitler (1966) and Homage to Thomas Hart Benton (1966) – treat communism in the east, and race relations in America.
Also on view in the presentation is a set of four major paintings on paper that Saul produced between 1980 and 1987. These works show Saul at the height of his powers in acrylic paint, precisely rendering incredibly complex systems of humanoid forms that seem to fall over themselves, threatening to dissemble. Comprised of stretched legs, lumpy arms, and errant mouths, Untitled (1980), and Exquisite Corpse (1980), appear as riotous interpretations of the human form. In a more recognizably human form, a distorted cowboy rides a bright yellow steed in Cowboy and Horse (1985), offering a sardonic take on masculinity and the American West. In Nails and Pants (1987), an amorphously human form arises from a patch of green and grabs itself with one of its hands, suggesting an reference to Salvador Dali’s Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War), from 1936. Taken together, this group of works demonstrates the range and rigor of Saul’s practice in a number of forms, through which he’s established his signature style of hallucinogenic imagery.
ABOUT PETER SAUL
Peter Saul was born in 1934 in San Francisco, California. He attended the California School of Fine Arts, and the Washington University School of Fine Arts. Saul’s work has been the subject of numerous international solo presentations, including exhibitions at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; the Hall Art Foundation, Reading; Gallery Met at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York; the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach; the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Mons, Belgium, and the Musée de l’Hôtel Bertrant, Dole, France. His work is held in the collections of public institutions both stateside and abroad, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In 2010, Saul was elected to the American Academy of Art and Letters. Saul lives and works in New York.
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