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Weisman Museum Displays Pieces by Legendary Movie Poster Artist Bob Peak

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Several thousand people visited the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art between May 10 and August 3 to experience the inventive, original artwork on display in the exhibit, Bob Peak: the Movie Poster and Beyond - Four Decades of American Illustration.

Known as the “Father of the Modern Hollywood Movie Poster,” Peak (1927-1992) created iconic, memorable illustrations for more than 100 films, such as Apocalypse Now,My Fair Lady,West Side Story,Thoroughly Modern Millie,Superman,Excalibur, andRollerball. The display included four of seven paintings Peak created to promote Francis Ford Coppola’sApocalypse Now and revealed how the director’s ideas about the movie evolved as filming progressed.

Peak’s work also graced the covers of hundreds of national magazines, including 45 covers for Time magazine alone. Among the covers featured in the exhibit were portraits of key political personalities of that time period including John F. Kennedy, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and then president-elect Jimmy Carter.

The exhibition featured 44 original, hand-painted pieces spanning Peak’s career from his first advertising campaign in 1955 to his late work of the 1990s. Many local entertainment industry artists were among the exhibit visitors, says museum director Michael Zakian.

“Almost everyone who walked in remembered seeing the iconic posters Bob Peak created for famous movies like West Side Story and My Fair Lady,” Zakian says. “A large percentage of animators and illustrators active in Los Angeles today studied Peak’s work while they were in school. The exhibition allowed them to see firsthand the work of a master.”