Peter Blake: The Venice Suite

23 January - 28 February 2009

Peter Blake, known to many as the father of British Pop Art, has created twenty new prints, entitled The Venice Suite, inspired by his recent experiences in the Italian city.

Depicting an imagined, fairytale vision of the city, the prints draw from a host of source material and were inspired by the artist’s 2007 visit to the Venice Art Biennale.  Blake’s trademark collage style incorporates images culled from postcards, photographs and second-hand books, including details from familiar old masters alongside illustrations from vintage children’s books.

The prints reveal fantastical scenes of the city against backgrounds of blues, greys, greens and muted yellows, evoking the magical atmosphere of a place enshrouded in myth and romance and imbued with Blake’s wonderfully surreal sensibility.  Christ’s Entry into Venice, for example, depicts Jesus riding into St Mark’s Square as crowds of businessmen, tourists and figures from anthropological photographs guide his way, while Icebergs in Veniceshows a surreal vision of the future where climate change is reversed and men and cherubs alike attempt to escape the cold as it descends on the beautiful sunlit buildings.  In others, exotic menageries of animals gather before iconic palazzos and butterflies and acrobats look down on the Rialto from the night sky.

The Venice Suiteis the first part of a series that will see Blake embark on a world tour, a recurrent theme in the artist’s career.  He has already begun to create a Paris series, and plans to create prints of other iconic cities as he travels, including London and New York.

 “Venice has been an inspiring place for me since my first visit in 1957 on a scholarship.  I spend my life collecting images, newspaper cuttings and vintage postcards which find their way into my work, and Venice has proven to be a treasure-trove of material.  I returned to the city in 2007 and found some beautiful embroideries and illustrations which will become part of future works“, he says.