Lot 39: Peter Beard

For Christina Happy B-Day and Lots Love (c.1995)

When Peter Beard received his first camera at age 12, it was the perfect complement to the meticulous diaries he already kept; each of them a tool for recording and preserving the world around him. Five years later, seventeen-year-old Beard took a life-changing trip to Africa with Quentin Keynes, the great grandson of Charles Darwin, to document rare and threatened fauna in Zululand. Beard began to split his time between New York and Africa, photographing a disappearing wildlife, people, landscape and way of life. Uneasy with the term “environmentalist,” Beard’s work is more concerned “with the brutality of the natural world, the violent nature of existence, and the folly of man” (Robert Kolker, “Taming Peter Beard,” New York Magazine, February 24, 2013).

20th Century Art: Lot 39

Peter Beard For Christina Happy B-Day and Lots Love (c.1995)

This work is a classic example of Beard’s highly unique and personal art: Tying in his lifelong interest of journaling, the base of the collage is a page torn from Beard’s daily planner, with scribbled notes and phone numbers visible in the margins. In the center, Beard has pasted two contrasting representations of unflappable women: a painted vixen by Beard’s friend and former art teacher at Yale, Richard Lindner; and his own portrait of a strapping and charismatic African tribeswoman. Other collaged elements taken from nature, newsprint, and Beard’s studio, augment the contrast of nature and artifice in a tone that is at once cheeky and caustic.

Lot 39

Peter Beard (b. 1938)
For Kristina, Happy B-Day (c. 1995)
mixed media, collage, pen, ink, attached photos, fragments and shed snake skin
signed and inscribed center
additionally signed and inscribed lower left
sheet: 21 x 29 inches