Paul Peter Piech (1920 - 1996) was a graphic designer and printmaker who used his art to champion humanitarian and political causes. His bold, graphic artworks work well in a contemporary setting and Morphets auctioneers of Harrogate are delighted to have over 60 of his linocut printed posters in our 7th September Fine Art and Antiques sale.
Born in Brooklyn, the son of Ukrainian parents, he studied at the Cooper Union College of Art in New York. He came to Britain as a serviceman during the Second World War and was stationed in Cardiff where he met his future wife, Irene Tompkins. After the War Piech stayed in Britain and studied at Chelsea School of Art, London funded by a GI grant.
He then worked in the advertising industry from 1945 - 1968, becoming art director of the London agency, Crawfords and in 1959 set up the private press Taurus Press of Willow Dene. The first publication produced by the Press was War and Misery, a portfolio of Piech's woodcut images. In 1968 Piech set up as a freelance graphic artist, accepting commissions and part-time teaching in order to devote more time to the private press.
Piech designed poem posters and printed books and illustrations which expressed his concern with freedom of conscience, ideological and social issues and racial equality. His commissions included work for Amnesty International and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Cutting graphics and illustrations in lino or wood, he often illustrated quotations from poets, politicians and philosophers such as William Blake and Martin Luther King. The Press produced 70 publications and his work was shown in numerous exhibitions and appeared in international publications. Piech was a Fellow of the Society of Typographical Designers and a founder member of the London Chapel of Private Press Printers.
The posters consigned to Morphets were part of an exhibition held in the 1990s and were given to the vendor by the artist when the exhibition closed. The combination of strong words and images makes for great wall cover and are already causing a stir at our Albert Street office. The posters, most of which are from small limited edition runs of 25 and are signed by the artist, start from £50 and will be on view at our Saleroom on Tuesday 5th September 2pm – 7pm and Wednesday 6th September 10am – 5pm.