Tuesday, March 3, 2015

In a World of His Own: The Prints of Peter Milton

There are not many printmakers in the United States who make it on their own - that is, who earn their livelihood solely by making prints... At age thirty-nine Peter Milton made the decision to devote his entire energies to printmaking. Today he is considered the most successful of contemporary artists.

Kneeland McNulty

Peter Winslow Milton. American, b. 1930-
Milton's mesmerizing world of invented reality and mind-bending perspectives present a richly detailed view of society that is at once contemporary as much as it is a world of the past. Leisurely times spent playing pool in the parlour, and sitting in the sun room of some palatial salon sipping tea while watching fish swim above one's heads as though we are in an aquarium are only some of Milton's twisted images of reality.

The period Milton references harkens back to the Victorian and Industrial Age. We see old automobiles, and large, airy interiors of grand homes, with children playing in enormous expanses alongside of a painter at his easel; with his faithful dog curled up at his feet. The complexity of Milton's fantastical images, combines several types of spaces, interiors and overlapping spaces into one gigantic place of one's dreams. The artistic references present in Milton's work also intrigue us and make us feel as though we are a part of Milton's dreamscapes.

Stages for the ballet behind private viewing boxes for the opera, intermittent with genteel folk and the commoner are make us feel as though we seeing a performance onstage and off. The gathering of people for the ballet have a similar feel as the lively patrons of a Toulouse Lautrec cabaret.

Milton’s imagery frequently draws on elements from the late 19th and early 20th century English and French literary world. He manages not only capture the mood of another era but also mid-century cinema. Bergman and Fellini are among his major artistic influences.
The artist's compositional similarities to a Caillebotte painting, or one of Milton's interior/exteriors remind one of the perception-twisted environs of an M.C. Escher print, or the flip of being within and outside a structure like we see in his lonely staircases with gaslight parks and the glassed-in dome of a train station or a conservatory. These are complex pictures and we revel in the artist's pain-staking details.

Milton has received numerous awards for his work, and has a published book titled Peter Milton: Complete Prints 1960-1996. This is a person worthy of the print medium and pushes it with every technical and cultural/artistic influence he can muster. Let us salute one of our modern masters and pray let us look forward to more from his unique world.....

1954 B.F.A. Yale University, New Haven, CT
1961 M.F.A Yale University, New Haven, CT
Work In Public Collections
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, NY
Ashville Museum of Art, NC
Baltimore Museum of ART, MD
Banco de la Republica, Bogotá, Columbia
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France
Boston Public Library, MA
British Museum, London, England
Brooklyn Museum, NY
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Cincinnati Art Museum, OH
Cleveland Museum of Art, OH
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Detroit Institute of Arts, MI
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, CA
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
George Washington University, Washington, DC
Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá, Columbia
Museo de Arte Moderno "La Tertulla", Cali, Columbia
Museum of American Art, Washington DC
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
New Britain Museum of American Art, CT
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton
New York Times
Newark Public Library, NJ
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
Portland Art Museum, OR
Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence, RI
Rutgers University, The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick
Seattle Art Museum, WA
Society of American Graphic Artists, Inc., NYC
Stanford University, Cantor Center for Visual Arts, MN
Tate Gallery, London, England
Yale University, New Haven, CT

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