Peter Max Exhibit in New Orleans

Pop artist Peter Max, dubbed ‘the zen master of colour’, has teamed up with the estate of Milton Greene to create a series of images of Marilyn, on display in an exhibition titled ‘Homage to Colour’, now at the Angela King Gallery in New Orleans until June 23.

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As Max told David Lee Simmons of NOLA.com, his fascination with Marilyn began with a personal encounter in New York, sixty years ago. (He thinks it occurred around 1953, though it may actually have been a year or two later, after Marilyn moved to the city permanently – and, coincidentally, when many of Greene’s photos of Marilyn were shot. Monroe’s visits to Carnegie Hall, close to where Max saw her, have been noted here.)

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“‘I was at the 57th Street school,’ he said, referring to the now-iconic Art Students League of New York, incubator of countless artists. ‘It was across from Carnegie Hall, and I was sitting on the steps of our building. I was kind of on the side, sitting with friends of mine, and this woman, beyond gorgeous, walks by in high heels. And I just couldn’t take my eyes off her!

‘After she passed by, she turned around and told me, Hey, I love your colorful pants! Actually, I had on regular pants, khaki pants, really, but from the knees down there was paint splatter all over them. She was remarking on the splatter of all those colors. Then I said to my friend, Ronnie, that’s Marilyn Monroe.

‘I’m looking at a Marilyn Monroe I just painted. I can’t tell you why. I mean, she had the most stunning features — an absolute miracle from God. And she had this beauty and charisma in her face that was just beyond belief. The nose, cheeks, eyes, everything was perfectly in  balance.

‘Years ago, I just decided to paint the [photographs]. I used to paint her a little bit before that. I had these paintings of her in my studio, and a dealer said, We’ve got to show those in the gallery. So I started painting some more.'”

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