Peter Max at Ocean Galleries

STONE HARBOR – He was part of the U.S. Bicentennial celebration in 1976, when the King of Sweden presented the book, Peter Max Paints America, to President Gerald Ford and incoming president Jimmy Carter at the White House. At the request of First Lady Nancy Reagan, he attended another White House Fourth of July celebration in 1981 to commemorate President Ronald Reagan’s first year in office, painting six Statue of Liberty paintings and marking his sixth year of the “Liberty” painting tradition. He helped ring in the millennium with OpSail (Operation Sail) 2000, joining President Bill Clinton in celebrating with the largest peacetime assembly of ships in New York harbor’s history. And the impressive list of Fourth of July celebrations goes on.

It is a distinct privilege for Ocean Galleries (9618 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, NJ) to welcome the iconic Peter Max for a Fourth of July weekend exhibition featuring a never-before-seen collection of his greatest and most-revered imagery spanning four decades.

As a boy growing up in China, Peter Max fell in love with American movies, jazz, and comic books. Little did he know that his artwork would become a part of the American culture, and that his patriotism would inspire such great projects as the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. When he learned of the famous statue’s disrepair, he worked as an artist and activist to raise funds for its restoration. After four years of work, July 3-6, 1986 was designated Liberty Weekend, marking the centennial of the statue and its reopening. President Reagan presided over the rededication on Governor’s Island, with French President François Mitterrand, Lee Iacocca, and many other notable people in attendance, including Peter, who painted 11 large portraits of the Statue of Liberty’s head, marking the eleventh year of the tradition.

On July 4, 1987, an 85-foot fax composed of statements, poems, and drawings about “What makes America Great” was sent to the White house from a yacht cruising in front of the Statue of Liberty. Max painted a new portrait of “Liberty” on a large canvas that year while cruising in front of the actual statue. On subsequent Fourth-of-Julys, Max continued his yacht cruises with friends and celebrities aboard to enjoy the fireworks.

Peter has a long history with Ocean Galleries as well, having exhibited at the Stone Harbor gallery frequently in the past 15 years, and often celebrating the Fourth of July holiday in the quintessential seashore community. In addition to bringing along his expansive collection of patriotic artwork, Max will have an assortment of beach-themed paintings inspired by his many visits to the Jersey Shore.

Max’s collection will include some of his greatest and most-revered imagery spanning four decades: from his iconic Pop Art designs commemorating Woodstock to the 2013 unveiling of Max’s design for the cruise ship Breakaway, and the exquisite Marilyn (Monroe) series.

In addition to his iconic artwork, the collection features numerous new pieces. One of the exhibit highlights will be his latest series of paintings in honor of the Frank Sinatra Centennial Celebration.

Gallerygoers will also get to enjoy selections from his Italy series, including his romantic take on Venice.

The “Peter Max: A Tribute to America” exhibition opens on Friday, July 3 and runs through Sunday, July 5 from 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM at Ocean Galleries (9618 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, NJ). Guests will have the opportunity to meet Peter Max during gallery receptions from 7:00 PM until 10:00 PM on Friday, July 3 and from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM on Saturday, July 4. The exhibition and the receptions are free and open to the public, with all artwork available for acquisition.

In addition to an extraordinary collection of artwork and custom-framing, Ocean Galleries also offers a variety of hand-made crafts from local, regional, and national artists in America, such as glass, pottery, jewelry, and furniture. All summer exhibitions take place at the Stone Harbor location of Ocean Galleries (9618 Third Avenue), which is open from 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM daily during the summer season. The Avalon location of Ocean Galleries (2199 Ocean Drive) is open from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM Monday through Saturday. For more information or directions, call 609-368-7777 or visit www.oceangalleries.com

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