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Max and Lautrec inspire painted barn

 In Artists & Special Collections, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, In the News, Peter Max
Joan Peterson, left, of Clive, and her son, Curt Peterson of Des Moines, stand in front of their barn, upon which they painted a portrait of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Image captured from Miami Herald. Original photo by Hans Madsen.

Joan Peterson, left, of Clive, and her son, Curt Peterson of Des Moines, stand in front of their barn, upon which they painted a portrait of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Image captured from Miami Herald. Original photo by Hans Madsen.

Peter Max and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, two artists celebrated by Park West Gallery, have inspired a family to transform their barn into a canvas.

The Miami Herald tells the story of Curt Peterson of Des Moines and his parents, Joan and Ron Peterson, deciding to paint the portrait of a familiar-looking bearded man on their barn near Dayton, Iowa.

The painting is of Lautrec, a French painter who lived from 1864 to 1901. However, the image itself is taken from a print of Lautrec created by Max, the renowned pop artist.

The family decided to improve the barn, which they received when purchasing the land in 1951, with a painting. After some debate regarding what to paint, they ultimately chose the print of Lautrec.

Curt, a graphic artist, used a grid system imposed on the barn to recreate the image as accurately as possible. From the article:

His first step was to morph the Peter Max design onto a photo of the barn. Then he imposed a grid pattern on it. Prints of the work with the grids were used as guides during the actual painting. In addition, he applied a grid pattern to the siding with blue painters tape.

“You’re not freehanding it that way,” he said.

The article reports that two gallons of black paint, nearly eight hours and seven volunteers were needed to complete the project. The open doors of the second story serve as Lautrec’s hat.

Unfortunately, the barn may not stand for much longer. The the structure is leaning and its hayloft is partially collapsed.

What about you? Has art inspired you to take on a project? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Lautrec is considered one of the great masters of Post-Impressionism alongside artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Gauguin, and was known for his colorful works based on 19th-century Paris. Max is one of the most important contemporary artists of our time, with his vivid works ranging from visionary commercial pop from the 1960s to Neo-Expressionism.

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  • Donna Fessler
    Reply

    What a wonderful job. So glad to see these barns still standing and to give them some life!

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