As if there wasn’t already enough to like about Peter Max, what I quickly discovered during my recent interview with him is that he shares my passion for great Art Deco pieces. In fact, Max has wonderful French Deco furniture all over his studio. In addition, he collects Roseville, and has a good number of pieces in two of my favorite lines: Futura and Baneda. I told him I’d just written acalling out these patterns, and he smiled and nodded, as if he was completely unsurprised.
Special shelving lining the perimeter of the studio holds what seem to be hundreds of cookie jars. Max told me that he and his good friend Andy Warhol used to go antiquing together, and he pointed out some specific examples they bought one day in a shop in Soho. As many in the antiques world know, cookie jars are a hit all over the country, and Max has some that would be the prize in anyone’s collection.
Finally, it seems now Max is collecting examples of some of his own work. At a quick glance, I saw pantyhose, party hats, puzzles, clocks, a teakettle, a pair of hot pants and some sneakers. Seeing all of these items together made me realize what a footprint Max has left on our culture. Did I mention that all of that initial licensing only lasted for about three years? In that time, there was a lot of Max memorabilia made, and it is still circulating at all over the world. Max made art accessible to everyone, and that is quite a feat.
Max told me he doesn’t spend much time collecting at the moment, as he’s immersed in his work, which is getting bigger and more ambitious with each passing year. In the meantime, he’s surrounded by a lot of great vintage items that make his studio feel warm and inviting, just like the man himself.