When the 88-year-old artist Peter Saul graduated from the Washington University in St. Louis in the mid-1950s, he packed up and headed straight to Europe; but the luck that was awaiting him there would eventually turn the Pop Art precursor into a superstar back in America. Living in Paris in 1960, he was introduced to the art dealer Allan Frumkin by the Chilean modernist Roberto Matta, who Saul had never met but to whom he had sent some drawings. When Matta suggested Saul meet Frumkin, the artist showed the dealer his work, which he bought and continued to acquire and exhibit in for the next 37 years. Returning to America, Saul taught at the University of Texas for nearly 20 years before eventually settling in New York and finding renewed interest in his work.
With a growing number of museum and international gallery shows over the past 15 years, a fascination with the artist’s breakthrough work has also increased. His exhibition “Early Works on Paper (1957-1965)” offers 47 colorful works on paper that shine a light on his inventiveness in those formative years. Adopting the language of Abstract Expressionism, he added everyday objects to transform it into what was soon to become Pop Art. Creating pastels and collages featuring cartoon characters, consumer products, sex, soldiers, violence and the police, Saul irreverently commented on the concerns of the day, which are now displayed throughout the gallery, where viewers can experience them anew.
Through January 21