Lines and Colors art blog

Bob Peak

Bob Peak
Influential illustrator Bob Peak had an impact a generation of illustrators and helped define the design and format of modern movie posters.

Active in the middle of the 20th Century, Peak transformed movie posters from staid photographic collages or glamour shots to expressive excursions into a variety of design directions, from detailed rendering to spare graphics to freeform watermedia.

Peak did over 100 movie posters, starting with West Side Story in 1961, and created many memorable posts for movies like Apocalypse Now (above, top left), and the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

He also had a number of commercial clients and did editorial illustration for a variety of magazines, including a series of highly regarded covers for Time magazine and TV Guide. In addition he did artwork for gallery display, such as his portrait of Expressionist painter Egon Schiele (above, lower right).

The Society of Illustrators elected him to the Hall of Fame in 1977. Peak also taught at his own school, the Art Students League and Famous Artists School.

Peak’s methods were as varied as his graphic approach, utilizing, oil, acrylic, charcoal and mixtures of them. He chose colors, textures and design approaches that he felt appropriate for the subject.

Bob peak’s son Matthew Peak is also an artist and designer and poster artist of note, and maintains a web site devoted to his father’s work with extensive galleries. [Note: see addendum below.] There is also an official site. Leif Peng has a nice set of Bob Peak illustrations on his Flickr set.

Gallery Nucleus in Southern California is hosting a major retrospective of Peak’s work titled Bob Peak: Father of The Modern Hollywood Poster. The show runs until June 25, 2009.

[Addendum, 12/21/10: The pages on the Matthew Peak site are no longer being maintained. Instead, see the Sanguin Fine Art Gallery, also maintained by Matthew Peak, where you will find Bob Peak’s work in various categories: drawing, illustrations, paintings and pastels, though they are mixed in with three other artists. You can also choose “Bob Peak” in the footer of the page and see a text list of work titles.]


7 responses to “Bob Peak”

  1. fantastic!

  2. Bob Peak was top of the heap when I was in art school in the 70s. Thanks for posting this.

  3. I remember BP from my days taking the FAS course for talented young people.

    I hadn’t connected him with the iconic movie posters you post. fantastic!

  4. Charlie,

    As you may know, I am a Rollerball fanatic and the Robert Peak movie poster for the 1975 movie is one of my all-time favorites.

  5. gandhi ayya Avatar
    gandhi ayya

    im a great fan of bob peaks works,early 60s and 70s ill go to the cenima hall out side watch his works,specialy camalot i had spend hours watching the work my it is alwas mindboling,i worship ur work sir,im an illstrator to and i have been ispierd by ur work

  6. I am the son of illustrator Bob Peak who did “Rollerball” and dozen of other movies illustrations. A new coffee-table book on THE ART OF BOB PEAK is being published and will be available this Fall. There is a “Pre-Release SPecial Price Offer” for the book. Please log onto for more information. Thank you, Thomas Peak

  7. Expressionist painter Egon Schiele.
    I recently received an invitation from the galerie St. Etienne in New york to attend the opening of Egon Schiele’s Women.
    The exhibition will continue through December 28, 2012
    The picture on the invitation card represents Wally in Red Blouse with Raised Knees, 1913.