In the early 1960s, Peter Blake began a series of paintings based on real and fictitious wrestlers. The series derived from the artist's lifelong love of the sport. 'Baron Adolf Kaiser' is the first work in the series. To create this imaginary titan, Blake borrowed the features from an image of a wrestler found in an American wrestling magazine. The choice of name indicates the wrestler's German ancestry: 'Adolf' probably derives from the name Adolf Hitler, and 'Kaiser' is the German word for 'Emperor'. The warlike name and aggressive pose reveal Kaiser's villainous approach to the sport.
Peter Blake gained recognition in the late 1950s for his use of subjects and source material from popular culture. His work of this time reflected his interest in the worlds of pop music, film, typography, folk art, fairgrounds and the circus. Although Blake has always worked in a variety media, he primarily considers himself to be a figurative painter. 'Baron Adolf Kaiser' reveals the artist's skill and interest in the conventions of portraiture. In subsequent wrestling pictures, Blake would surround his wrestling paintings with actual ornaments and medals to symbolise attributes and achievements.
- Artwork Details: 61 x 51cm
- Material description: oil on panel
- Credit line: © Peter Blake/DACS
- Theme: Portrait
- Medium: Painting
- Accession number: ACC3/1963