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PAUL PETER PIECHAmerican 1920 - 1996

PAUL PETER PIECHAmerican 1920 - 1996

Peter Paul Piech was a Brooklyn (NY) born artist who spent most of his professional career in Britain. He produced a dazzling number of original prints on social, political and literary themes over 5 decades. He combined innovative typesetting with original artwork and bold colours in a style quite unlike any other artist.

A large number of Piech's works are in the Regional Print Centre at Cambria College in Wrexham, the V & A also holds over 2,000 examples of his work and published a fascinating monograph on the artist. This autumn sees a major retrospective open at the People's History Museum in Manchester which will bring together over 90 works.

The themes in Piech’s work range from highlighting social and racial injustice to a healthy contempt of the political classes, with particular ire directed at President Nixon. Our collection was almost entirely produced in the 1970s. Often idealistic and packing a brutal punch, his work had a softer side as evidenced by his love of literature, particular Pablo Neruda and Mark Twain. His works were executed quickly and designed to be dispersed equally quickly. Some prints were in editions of 75 although not all were completed, and many were unique.

Piech’s imagery occasionally caused problems for him. In 1979 the American Embassy formally complained over his appropriation of the United States flag, however shortly afterwards the Library of Congress acquired a print of Nixon with the work ‘Dicktator’ inscribed above. He is remembered more fondly by the many students he taught at Chelsea School of Art, the London College of Printing and Leicester College (where he work alongside Edward Bawden).