Dedicated to All Defenders of Human Freedoms will look at the full range of Piech’s output from his political posters and artists’ books, to his work as an advertising creative director (1951-1968) where he created campaigns for companies such as British Steel and ICI.
According to the PHM, the exhibition will also examine Piech’s interest in lithography, woodcut and letterpress – much of which he developed while working on his own Taurus Press. His political beliefs would inform much of his printmaking and were also reflected in his projects for organisations such as Amnesty International and CND.
Piech went on to develop the printmaking technique that used “separate linocut printing plates to layer text and image upon one another,” says the museum. “Examples of the equipment and type of printing press that Piech would have used will be exhibited alongside his actual printmaking rollers, linocutting tools, and original printing plates.”
Born in the US in 1920, Piech made his home in Wales after the Second World War and went on to study at the Chelsea School of Art, becoming a freelance artist in 1968. He died in 1996 leaving behind a huge archive of work.
“Piech’s own support and voice for liberal causes together with his skills and artistry in printmaking make him one of the masters of the political poster, which this retrospective explores and celebrates,” says Mark Wilson, Exhibitions Officer for the People’s History Museum. “He was also a great observer of his time, often using the words and quotes of politicians and leading figures in his visuals. To understand his work and legacy, you need to understand the man, and through Dedicated to all Defenders of Human Freedoms we’ve set out to share Piech’s story as well as his work.”
The exhibition is jointly curated with the Regional Print Centre at Coleg Cambria in Wrexham – to whom Piech’s family donated an wide range of the artist’s work – and also features artworks from the family’s own collection and other collectors.
Dedicated to All Defenders of Human Freedoms: The Art of Paul Peter Piech runs from October 1 until February 12 2017. See phm.org.uk.