Peter Saul

Peter Saul, Shark in My Bathtub.

Peter Saul, BFA56
Dean's Medal

Described by The New York Times as "an artist's artist" and "a serial offender in violations of good taste," Peter Saul has provided lush, lurid, and scathingly satirical commentaries on political, social, and historical events for more than 50 years.

Saul's early use of cartoon and pop culture imagery situates him among the founders of Pop Art. But where the emotional temperature of contemporaries like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein ran cool, Saul's runs white hot. Christopher Columbus, Willem de Kooning, the Vietnam War, Angela Davis, George W. Bush, Abu Ghraib, and the artist himself—all come under the squirming, drooping, brightly colored gun of Saul's disturbingly inventive paintings and prints.

Born in San Francisco, Saul studied at the California School of Fine Arts before earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Washington University in 1956. After living in Europe after graduation, he returned to the United States in 1964, working in the San Francisco bay area before eventually settling in Austin, Texas, where for twenty years he taught at the University of Texas.

Throughout his career, Saul has exhibited his work widely across the United States and Europe. The Orange County Museum of Art held a major retrospective in 2008, which later traveled to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. His work was prominently featured in Sinister Pop at the Whitney Museum of American Art; the exhibition, which closes March 31, 2013, presented an inventive take on the museum's diverse holdings of Pop Art from the movement's inception in the early 1960s through its aftershocks a decade later. Saul is currently represented by Mary Boone Gallery in New York.

Among other museum collections, Saul's work is included in the Art Institute of Chicago; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); the Whitney Museum of American Art; Yale University Art Gallery; Centre Pompidou (Paris); Moderna Museet (Stockholm); Museum Ludwig (Cologne, Germany); and Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam).

Saul received a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant in both 1979 and 1985. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993 and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2010.

Image credit

Peter Saul, Shark in My Bathtub. 72" by 96", acrylic/canvas, 2011. Copyright: Peter Saul. Courtesy: Mary Boone Gallery, New York.