Peake’s Picasso

Posted online: July 2013

photographs courtesy of THE CHANNING PEAKE ESTATE

Channing Peake’s The Bull, pen and ink on wove paper, c. 1950.

Peak and Picasso in Vallauris, France, 1953.

Artists all over the world have been influenced by Pablo Picasso but few actually knew him. Channing Peake did. Peake (1910-1989)—an important Southern California artist and noted Santa Ynez rancher—not only met Picasso but managed to forge a friendship with the man acknowledged as the greatest artist of the 20th century. Their unique relationship is the focus of a comprehensive exhibition at UC Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum.

Conceived and organized by the museum’s curator, Elyse Gonzalez, “Peake/Picasso”—opening July 13—examines the artists’ shared creative vision and friendship through paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and ephemera from the 1940s through ’60s. According to Gonzalez, “‘Peake/Picasso’ looks at how Picasso influenced Peake artistically and how the mystique of the West, as represented by Peake, captured the imagination of Picasso.”

And—as befits a local artist/hero with a gallery named in his honor at the Santa Barbara County Administration Building and whose murals grace the Santa Barbara Public Library and the Santa Barbara Airport—an installation of personal objects and photographs related to Peake accompanies the display.


UC Santa Barbara campus, 805-893-2951,

[ART SCENE, Summer 2013]

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