The Artists - The Movie Posters of Bob Peak
In a previous post we looked at the major movie poster artists of the late twentieth century. In this, we take our first deep dive in to the work of one of those poster legends.
To kick off, "the father of the modern movie poster", Robert "Bob" Peak.
Bob Peak has been lauded as "the greatest commercial illustrator active in the US after World War II".
Born in Denver, Colorado in 1927, Bob grew up in Wichita, Kansas and attended Wichita State University. Following military service in the Navy during the Korean War, he attended the Art Center College of Design in L.A., graduating in 1951, and moving to New York to begin his career as a commercial illustrator.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Peak
In 1961, United Artists commissioned Peak to produce a poster for their upcoming "West Side Story". The result was used on the huge 'six sheet' poster...
West Side Story (1961)
This led to further work with Bill Gold Advertising in New York (more on Bill Gold in a future blog post), including the posters for "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot".
For the Camelot poster, Bill Gold's direction to Peak was "I want you to do something in a Gustav Klimt design, like 'The Kiss'.
As you can see in the resulting poster (below), from the colour scheme to the reclined embrace, the influence is clear - and - this is a fantastic example of the power of Peak's work. Few other commercial artists of the twentieth century successfully integrated so many artistic movements and techniques in to their work.
Throughout his award-winning career, Peak was in demand for magazine covers (TIME, Esquire etc.), postage stamps (including 30 produced for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics) and commercial advertising posters, but, it is for his astonishing work on movies such as "The Spy Who Loved Me", "Apocalypse Now" and the original "Star Trek" films that he is most fondly remembered.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Peak
Bob Peak passed away in 1992, victim of a brain haemorrhage as a result of a fall. His obituary was featured in the New York Times.
His son Tom has subsequently curated some fantastic books on his father's broad body of work.
Here, we focus on those amazing movie posters.
Six of the Best...
Peak was such a versatile artist and, as we have seen, he took so many influences in to his work, but (today at least) these are our favourites...
All of the Movie Posters...
We have gathered together all of the Bob Peak movie posters that we are aware of.
Posters are organised by year. The year given is the year of the film's release in the US.
Clicking the poster will take you to a higher resolution image. The IMDb icon links to the film's details on that website.
So, which posters have we missed? Which ones have we got wrong? Over to you...
1950s - 1960s
The Comfort of Strangers (1990)
Bob Peak was responsible for some of the most beautiful movie posters of the 20th Century. Some of them ("Modesty Blaise", "Camelot", "The Voyage") are perfect examples of the best art of their time.
Self-portrait image courtesy of Thomas Peak
You can see which Bob Peak movie posters we currently have available here.
We hope you find something you love.
Adam and the Art of the Movies team.