One of the most imaginative and prolific illustrators of the 20th century, Robert Peak revolutionized advertising in the film industry and is considered the “Father of the modern movie poster.” Robert Peak totally transformed the approach to movie advertising from basic collages of film stills or head shots to flamboyant artistic illustrations. United Artist hired Peak in 1961 to help promote “West Side Story.” His innovative solution-painting characters and scenes into a single montage-became the first of over 100 such posters, among them “My Fair Lady,” “Camelot,” “Rollerball,” “Star Trek,” “Superman” and “Apocalypse Now.” Peak was not short on editorial assignments with 45 covers of Time Magazine featuring his illustrations-most notably the portrait of Mother Teresa.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Peak grew up in Kansas. He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a commercial illustrator. At age seven, he received a gift of brushes and paints, and by age nine he was drawing recognizable likenesses. He attended Wichita State University where he majored in geology with a minor in art and got a part time job in the art department of McCormick-Armstrong. That is where he gained the confidence to choose an art career and learned the skill of versatility-doing layout, illustration and lettering. After a stint in the military during the Korean War, Peak transferred to the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California and graduated in 1951.
In 1953 Peak moved to New York, landed an Old Hickory Whiskey ad campaign, and from that point on his career skyrocketed. His work appeared in major advertising and national magazines. Sports Illustrated sent him on assignments throughout the world, including a safari to hunt ibex with the Shah of Iran. He received the largest commission of an individual artist from the U.S. Postal Service to design 30 stamps for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California and 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.
In 1961 Peak was named Artist of the Year by the Artists Guild of New York, and in 1977 the Society of Illustrators elected him to its Hall of Fame. For his 30 years of outstanding contribution to the film industry, the Hollywood Reporter presented him the 1992 Key Art Lifetime Achievement Award.
Peak’s work is included in many permanent collections, and three of these paintings-of Anwar Sadat, Mother Teresa and Marion Brando-hang in the Smithsonian Institution.
EDUCATION: Wichita State University 44-45,46-49 Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, CA 50-52 BPA
TEACHING EXPERIENCE: Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, CA Art Students League, New York, New York Famous Artists Schools
PUBLICATIONS: FAMOUS ARTIST SCHOOL ILLUSTRATORS IN AMERICA
1900-1960’s by Walter Reed THE GREAT ILLUSTRATORS by Walter Reed
AWARDS: AWARDS FROM THE SOCIETY OF ILLUSTRATORS New York, New York Since 1959 to the present over 100 awards including: HAMILTON KING AWARD HALL OF FAME GOLD MEDALS SILVER MEDALS ARTIST OF THE YEAR 1961 by THE ARTIST GUILD OF NEW YORK Robert Peak has won over 150 awards from the following organizations: Art Directors Club of New York, Art Directors Annual, Communication Arts, Art Directors Club of Philadelphia, Art Directors Club of Chicago, Advertising Club of Boston, Art Directors Club of Denver, Motion Picture Advertising Exhibition, Printing Industries of Metropolitan New York Inc., The Hollywood Reporter Advertising Club of New York.
SHOWS: Utah State University, Wichita State University, New York Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, The Greenwich Workshop Gallery, National Art Museum of Sport, Westport Artists, New York Auto Show 1969, Carson Gallery, Denver, Colorado, O’Grady Galleries, Chicago, Illinois, Smithsonian Institute, National Portarait Gallery, Washington, Me Culley Fine Arts Gallery, Dallas, Texas.
ONE MAN SHOWS: Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, California Art Students League, New York, New York Society of Illustrators, New York, New York, Oklahoma Christian College, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida, O’Grady Galleries, Chicago, Illinois: People, Places and Things, April 1978 The Academy of Art College, San Francisco, California
PERMANENT COLLECTIONS: AMERICAN EXPRESS, New York, New York SPECIAL OLYMPICS, Washington, DC, PLAYBOY, PHILLIP MORRIS, New York, New York 20™ CENTURY FOX, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE, PORTRAIT GALLERY, Washington, DC, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF SPORT, New York, New York ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCE, Beverly Hills, California, SOUTHSTREET SEAPORT MUSEUM, New York, New York WICHITA STATE UNIVERSITY, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED TIME-LIFE INC. CASHCO ENERGY CORPORATION, E.G. Cashman, Houston, Texas BRIAN CLINTON AND ASSOCIATES, Melbourne, Australia TWA
SPECIAL ASSIGNMENTS: SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: On Safari with the Shah of Iran, hunting Ibex, 1964 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: Grand Prix tour with Jackie Stewart, 1967 FORD MOTOR COMPANY: Car Design 1968-1970 SPECIAL OLYMPICS: 15th Anniversary of the Special Olympics. Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the Special Olympic Committee commissioned six paintings on “The Spirit of Sports”, The imagery of the paintings was the artist’s interpretation of quotation from six famous athletes: Frank Gifford, Chris Evert Lloyd, Joe DiMaggio, Jack Nicklaus, Pele, and Wilt Chamberlain. 1982-1983 UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE: The largest commission ever given to an individual artist: designed 30 stamps for the 1984 Olympics. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE: Commissioned to paint 31 watercolors depicting various sport events in the history of the Olympics, for the book entitled GOLDEN MOMENTS published by the United States government