This year, the Godfather of Pop Art – Sir Peter Blake - turns 90 years old. To celebrate this momentous occasion and his unparalleled contribution to the art world, on Friday 24th June – we’re hosting a private view of some of Blake’s most iconic and rare artworks at Enter Gallery from 6-8pm. RSVP here.
Team an artistic career spanning 70 years with a prolific level of creating, and it’s tricky to select Blake’s best collections – but hey, it’s his birthday this week, so we’re going to give it a shot!
In today’s blog, we’re counting down Peter Blake’s 10 most iconic collections…
10 – American Trilogy Set, 2012
First up, at number 10 we have Blake’s 2012 American Trilogy - a beautiful collection of three silkscreen prints, finished with gold and silver leafing, embossing and diamond dust.
Forever capturing the zeitgeist, the collection is Blake’s comment on mass consumerism, and brings together three All-American symbols – the star spangled banner, Elvis Presley and Coca-Cola. All three motifs are seen repeatedly across Blake’s vast oeuvre, making this set instantly-recognisable as a piece by the Pop Art master.
9 – Stars Set, 2010
Pop Art and celebrities go hand-in-hand, so it’s no surprise that over the years we’ve seen Blake pay homage to everyone from The Beatles to Mr Bean.
For his 2010 Stars Set, which takes 9th place, Blake has selected five cultural icons, adulated by society, who have influenced what we watch, wear and listen to.
Each of his icons – Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles, Brigitte Bardot, Kate Moss, and Elvis Presley – crop up in various series’ across Blake’s oeuvre. Here, they appear in photo collage form, against a gold bark effect background, finished with diamond dust.
View the Star Series.
8 – 3D Wooden Puzzle Series, 2014
In at number 8, we have Blake’s 3D Wooden Puzzle series, in which he combines his signature collage style with the wonders of three-dimensional printing to create a truly special collection that, quite literally, stands out from the rest.
Blake is renowned for his vast collection of found objects and ephemera, and works created from his collection have been central to his art since the 1960s.
In this collection, Blake brings us five pieces, designed to appear like cabinets full of curious objects. To create this memorable 3D effect, Blake scans his objects and prints them in layers of pigment-tinted powder that solidifies, making his found objects look just like the real thing.
7 – Motif 10 Set, 2003
We love the Motif 10 set for its display of Blake’s artistic range. While every piece in the seven part set is a different style – all of them are reminiscent of other Blake collections. This makes the set a perfect choice if you simply can’t choose which of Blake’s works are your favourites, and fancy a little bit of everything!
What makes Blake’s 1991 Alphabet Series so special is that it showcases all of the topics that the artist is enduringly fascinated by. Whether it’s Victorian illustrations, childhood nostalgia, wrestlers, or a love of fairy tales – if Blake is interested in it, it features in this superb series.
This collection of 26 bold and playful prints, one for each letter of the alphabet, is a prime example of how Blake uses found imagery from postcards, magazines and ephemera to create artworks that both sing with nostalgia, and communicate the artist’s wonderful sense of humour.
5 - Homage to Rauschenberg, 2011
Sliding in at number 5, we have Blake’s Homage to Rauschenberg Collection. As the name suggests, the series is a tribute to Robert Rauschenberg – an American artist who rose to prominence in the 1950s, prompting the first wave of the Pop Art movement via his use of collage and his love of every day consumer products.
This colourful collection stitches together imagery and illustrations in reference to Rauschenberg’s collaged silkscreens from the 1960s. Lovers of Pop Art won’t want to miss this unique fusion of two of the movement’s biggest names.
4 - Dazzle Letter Set, 2017
For as long as Blake has been creating art, he has been showcasing his love for typography centre stage. Nowhere has this love of letters been more clearly communicated than in his beloved Dazzle Letter Set.
As well as referencing his early typography work, the 27-piece series explores the ‘dazzle effect’ – a method of painting that tricks the eye and was therefore used to help vessels avoid enemy detection during World War I.
3 - Reclaimed Icons, 2018
For our number 3 slot, we’ve chosen to hone in on a characteristic that defines Blake’s art – the wonderful sense of nostalgia for days gone by that permeates his oeuvre.
His Reclaimed Icons collection is a series of silkscreen prints in which he takes historically iconic imagery and brings them to life with the use of metallic glitters and vibrant inks. By injecting modern pops of energy into these antique images, Blake reignites his chosen icons’ relevance in our modern world.
2 - Replay Series, 2008
It’s (very) close but no cigar for Blake’s 2008 Replay Series, which we’ve ranked his second most iconic collection. This set of 12 silkscreen prints is a masterclass in motifs that set Blake aside as The Godfather of Pop Art.
In Replay, Blake revisits his own Pop Art work from the 1960s, employing the same vibrant reds, yellows, blues and greens, and simplistic-yet-bold patterns that help you identify a Blake piece in seconds. The collection also features nods to his ongoing series of wrestlers, as well as pop culture icons like Marilyn Monroe.
Enter Gallery is one of the few UK galleries to still have an extraordinarily rare full Replay series set. Contact the gallery for more information on 01273 724829.
1 - Marcel Duchamp’s World Tour
Securing the top spot is Blake’s ongoing Marcel Duchamp World Tour series – a collection that encompasses Blake’s sense of humour with the collaged crowds we see in his iconic album cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and his BBC series.
While Blake has created a number of collections in homage to artists he admires, his tribute to French writer and artist, Marcel Duchamp, is particularly special as it was Duchamp who inspired the ethos that defines Blake’s entire career – the idea that anything can be art.
Without Duchamp, would Blake have been the artist we revere today? This collection takes the top spot as it celebrates the genesis of an artistic career that will never be forgotten.
Join us on Friday 24th June between 6-8pm at Enter Gallery to celebrate Peter Blake and to view some of his most exquisite artworks. Spaces are limited so RSVP here.