Maier brings realistic, large-scale approach to ‘Legends’

The permanent collection of the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown includes two large-scale works by Peter Maier — a race car and Clydesdale horse.

A new exhibition opening Sunday will show Maier’s technique with human subjects.

“Peter Maier: Legends” features portraits of icons from the worlds of entertainment, arts and culture depicted in Maier’s hyper-realistic style and massive scale. A portrait of Bob Dylan, depicting him as a young artist and as he looks today, measures 60-by-90 inches. A triptych featuring author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Oskar Schindler (the subject of Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film “Schindler’s List”) is more than 12 feet wide.

Other subjects of the paintings include Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Janis Joplin and Andy Warhol.

Louis Zona, executive director and chief curator of the Butler, described “Legends” as, “A powerful exhibit, in both subject and execution, that makes us realize that Peter Maier is a modern day Leonardo (da Vinci) who blends skill with technical innovation. The art that he has produced, as seen in this remarkable exhibition portraying rock stars and icons, will long be honored and enjoyed.”

The Brooklyn-born artist graduated from the Pratt Institute. He was hired as one of the youngest designers ever at General Motors and became a senior designer for the Cadillac, Pontiac and Chevrolet motor divisions.

He left GM in 1980 to pursue his passion as an artist, revolutionizing American realist painting with his use of automotive paint and space-aged pigments to create his work.

“Peter Maier: Legends” will be on display through Nov. 18 at the Butler, 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown. Maier will attend an opening reception from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition and will be available through The Butler Museum Store.

The exhibition and the programming associated with it was organized by the Butler Institute of American Art and is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council.