Painter of urban realist subjects, and often referred to as the Godfather of British Pop Art, Peter Blake set out to make art as accessible and pervasive as that of pop music. To this end, Blake’s paintings and collages embrace the emblems and iconography of popular culture, and he was the first artist to include youth culture idols in British high art. Best known for his record sleeve cover for The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Blake has also designed record sleeve covers for Paul Weller (Stanley Road), Band Aid (Do They Know It’s Christmas), and most recently a greatest hits album for Oasis, and the John Peel tribute album. A fan of iconic legends and the ever-expanding practices of imitation and reproducibility, Blake’s “popular art” continues to be a highly influential and enduring presence.
Born in 1932 in Dartford, Kent, Peter Blake studied at the Gravesend School of Art and the Royal Academy of Art, London. Following his first solo exhibition in 1962 at the Portal Gallery, his work has been exhibited regularly in one-man shows worldwide. His first retrospective exhibition was held as early as 1969 at the City Art Gallery, Bristol, with subsequent retrospectives at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (1973), at the Tate Gallery (1983), and in 2007/08 at the Tate Liverpool and the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. In 1994 he was made the Third Associate Artist of the National Gallery, London. He was elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1981, and was awarded knighthood for his services to art in 2002.