Colour and chaos: the pioneering pop art of Peter Saul

Peter Saul, Woman Smoking, 1984, collection musée de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix, les Sables d’Olonne, huile et acrylique sur toile, 216 x 192 cm ©Peter Saul; photo: Hugo Maertens. Via Creative Boom submission.

Godfather to the 1960s Pop Art movement, American painter Peter Saul's work is on show once more, in his most comprehensive retrospective to date.

'Peter Saul: Pop, Funk, Bad Painting and more' is on show at Les Abattoirs, Toulouse, France, until 26 January. Featuring more than 90 works - some being exhibited for the first time - it includes some of his most unique and groundbreaking paintings, on topics like The Vietnam War, civil rights, the environment, junk food, and cigarettes.

Although father to the movement that spawned Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Saul was a leader not a follower, and his free-thinking, witty, and unconventional style was highly distinct from the mainstream of Pop Art, drawing the influence of abstract expressionist and surrealism along with cartoonish styles.

In the 1970s, he moved into interpretations of historical masterpieces such as Rembrandt’s Nightwatch and Picasso’s Guernica, and in the 1980s his style focused on ever more glamorous treatment of “low” subjects, heavily influenced by 19th-century painting.

A bilingual catalogue containing texts by John Yau, Annebelle Ténèze and by the artist himself will be published by Hatje Cantz in tandem with the exhibition. You can find out more at the Les Abattoirs website.

Peter Saul, Businessman n°6, 1963, collection MAC VAL - Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de- Marne, huile sur toile, 160 x 189 x 3 cm © Peter Saul; photo: © Jacques Faujour

Peter Saul, Businessman n°6, 1963, collection MAC VAL - Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de- Marne, huile sur toile, 160 x 189 x 3 cm © Peter Saul; photo: © Jacques Faujour

Peter Saul, Bewtiful & Stwong, 1971, collection Mnam/ Cci, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, peinture acrylique et huile sur toile, 213 x 183 cm © Peter Saul; photo © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat

Peter Saul, Bewtiful & Stwong, 1971, collection Mnam/ Cci, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, peinture acrylique et huile sur toile, 213 x 183 cm © Peter Saul; photo © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat

Peter Saul, Crucifixion, 1964, huile sur toile, 152,5 x 132,7 cm. Collection Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dôle © Peter Saul; photo: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dole, cl. Jean-Loup Mathieu

Peter Saul, Crucifixion, 1964, huile sur toile, 152,5 x 132,7 cm. Collection Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dôle © Peter Saul; photo: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dole, cl. Jean-Loup Mathieu

Peter Saul, Art Appreciation, 2016, acrylique sur toile, 162 x 203 cm, © Peter Saul, Collection privée, courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London

Peter Saul, Art Appreciation, 2016, acrylique sur toile, 162 x 203 cm, © Peter Saul, Collection privée, courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London

Peter Saul, Mona Lisa Throws Up Pizza, 1995, acrylique et huile sur toile, 170 x 160 cm © Collection privée; photo: Droits réservés

Peter Saul, Mona Lisa Throws Up Pizza, 1995, acrylique et huile sur toile, 170 x 160 cm © Collection privée; photo: Droits réservés

Peter Saul, La twalette, 1969, huile sur toile, 176 x 120 x 3 cm. Collection [mac] musée d’art contemporain, Marseille, ©Peter Saul; photo: Jean-Christophe Lett ; courtesy [mac]

Peter Saul, La twalette, 1969, huile sur toile, 176 x 120 x 3 cm. Collection [mac] musée d’art contemporain, Marseille, ©Peter Saul; photo: Jean-Christophe Lett ; courtesy [mac]

Peter Saul, Rights of the Individuals, 1989, coll. Centre national des arts plastiques, lithographie en NB, 70,7 x 55,6 cm © Peter Saul / Cnap /

Peter Saul, Rights of the Individuals, 1989, coll. Centre national des arts plastiques, lithographie en NB, 70,7 x 55,6 cm © Peter Saul / Cnap /