Monday, July 25, 2011
Dr. Peter Piening “was a genius”, states one of his former students, in a review of his life and work, found on Amazon.
He was a master of Visual Symbols. Dr. Piening did quality design work for many top U.S. commercial and charitable companies, government and international organizations, and educational institutions, as further elucidated in this report.
For example, Dr. Piening was , perhaps, most famous, at least among the public at large, for his design of the three ring Trademark for Ballantine Beer, the “ beer of the Yankees”.
Peter Piening was born of Danish parents in Grabow, on the Baltic Coast of Northern Germany. Young Peter was in line to inherit a Danish peerage. However, when the young man insisted on continuing with his art education, his father disinherited him, which disinheritance included his Peerage.
Dr. Piening’s education began with private schooling in Italy, followed by two years at the prestigious Jesuit school of Kloster Ettal in Bavaria, and, then, at the Stettin Gymnasium.
Dr. Piening studied design at the world famous BAUHAUS in Dessau, Germany, from 1926-1928, where he became close friends with ,and a student of, Laszlo Moholny-Nagy, Paul Klee and Mies van der Rohe.
The influence of these great artists account, at least in part, for the wide variety of intellectual and creative interests, which characterized Peter Piening’s career.
Herr Piening continued his studies at the University of Berlin, where he attained a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in 1931.
By 1934, Dr. Piening was working as a graphic artist for Conde Nash, as well as performing free-lance work in Paris. Conde Nast brought the young artist to New York City in 1934.
From that time forth , Dr. Piening held a dramatic succession of major positions in the design field: Art Director, N.W. Ayer and J. Walter Thompson agencies; LIFE and FORTUNE magazines; U.S. State Department Voice of America and the famous People’s Capital Exhibition ( where the famous debate between then- Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev); Ford Motor, U.S. Steel; Douglas Aircraft; Lever Brothers; Squibb Pharmaceuticals; and Shell Oil.
Dr. Peter Piening has created more than sixty (60) established Trademarks, and symbols of international rank. Many of those, at least for their eras, became symbols of our daily lives---e.g., the aforementioned Ballantine Three Ring Sign as well as the Lincoln Zephyr, and symbols for the National Housing Center and Syracuse University, where Dr.Piening continued as a distinguished artist and professor in residence, from the 1950’s until his retirement in the early 1970’s.
In addition, Dr.Piening was responsible for the program and format of Life and later Fortune magazines, during the crucial and dramatic Depression and War Years, 1937-1945. Dr. Piening carried on a consistent program of painting , drawing and teaching, independent of the Design profession.
For many years, Dr. Piening participated in the training of young artists at New York City’s prestigious Art Student’ League, at New York University’s Adult Education Program, and , until retirement, at Syracuse University.
The world-wide web attests to the glowing reviews of Dr. Piening and his life’s work. Former students and colleagues speak of his “genius”, as well as great compassion and caring, which accompanied his professional dedication and talent.
Books by our Subject, and/or containing art by our subject are still on sale, at, for example, Amazon. His works are still occasionally on exhibit.
It is a personal eccentricity of Dr. Piening that , while alive, he never sold any of his personal work. (This is according to Dr. Piening’s grandchild, in a note on Amazon, accompanying a book review.) No record has been found by the Author of post-death sales.
Next to be included , in the near future ,as a Blog Supplement, will be several pages of Trademarks created by our subject, as well as a copy of a Lecture given by Dr. Piening at the Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York, in 1963, as a part of a lecture series. (Permission to be obtained from the Everson museum)
Respectfully Submitted MARK A. LEITER, Esq.
July 23, 2011
Copyright by Author, with full rights of sole ownership, and absolute rights to control and/ or authorize use and reproduction.