We hear, read, and write a great deal about the dark side of the art world; however, this story might bring tears to one’s eyes.
Peter Max is a name that will be very familiar to many of you. Max rose to fame during the 1960s and 1970s with his psychedelic, counter culture, imagery that was featured in TV commercials, magazine and album covers, postage stamps, etc. One might think that being a very popular and successful artist would lead to a happy and fulfilling life, but that is not always the case. In the late 1990s, Max pled guilty to tax evasion (he concealed more than $1M from the IRS) and was sentenced to two months in prison and a $30,000 fine.
Today, Peter Max lives in New York and suffers from advanced dementia; however, that has not stopped him, ok, his studio, from producing work. For the past several years, Adam Max (Peter’s son), has been at the helm — keeping an eye on the artists who are creating the most recent Peter Max paintings. According to recent reports, last year alone the studio generated more than $30M in profits! Here is an interesting question – if the artist cannot even direct the studio, can one really call the works authentic Peter Max creations? I do not believe so; however, they are being sold as just that. The story gets even crazier when you learn about the battle for control that has been going on, and the conditions the artist has been living in.
Peter Max is not alone. Over the years, other similar stories have surfaced — Stan Lee and Robert Indiana to name just two. Like many other things, it all comes down to greed.