Sir Peter Thomas Blake, CBE, RDI, is an English pop artist, best known for his design of the sleeve for the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
During the late 1950s, Blake became one of the best known British pop artists. His paintings from this time included imagery from advertisements, music hall entertainment, and wrestlers, often including collaged elements. Blake also often directly refers to the work of other artists. On the Balcony (1955-57) has Edouard Manet's The Balcony being held by a boy on the left of the composition, and The First Real Target (1961) is a standard archery target with the title written across the top as a play on the paintings of targets by Kenneth Noland and Jasper Johns.
In 1969 Blake left London to live near Bath. Blake's work changed direction featuring scenes based on English Folklore and characters from Shakespeare. In the early 1970s, he made a set of watercolours to illustrate Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass and in 1975 was a founder of the Brotherhood of Ruralists. Blake moved back to London in 1979 and his work returned to the earlier popular culture references.
Blake was made a Royal Academician in 1981, and a CBE in 1983. "A major retrospective of Blake's work was held in the Tate in 1983...(and) in 2002 Blake was awarded a knighthood for his services to art." In February 2005, the Sir Peter Blake Music Art Gallery, located in the School of Music, University of Leeds, was opened by the artist. The permanent exhibition features 17 examples of Blake's album sleeve art, including the only public showing of a signed print of his famed Sgt. Pepper's artwork.
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