Peter Milton

Selected Prints 1960 – 1997

Jump to

Peter Milton has emerged as one of the most intriguing contemporary American printmakers and as a master of contemporary etching and engraving. His work displays his firm mastery of spatial arrangement and the handling of light and dark textures.

The Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, the Fine Arts Museums’ prints and drawings department, will honor Milton’s contribution to modern printmaking with this exhibition of approximately 50 works spanning the length of his career. Images in this mini-retrospective, which emphasizes works from the last decade, will be drawn from the Achenbach’s permanent collection as well as from private collections.

Milton studied under renowned color theorist Josef Albers at Yale University and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree there in 1954. He began his career as a painter, but after several years his interest in painting waned. In 1960, “frustrated and dismayed” by the New York art scene, Milton turned to the print world, which he viewed as “less contaminated” than the world of painting. Milton was tested for color blindness at Johns Hopkins University in 1962 and was “shocked at the degree of deficiency” of his sensitivity to red and green. This cemented his interest in printmaking, which could allow him to fully explore his artistic talents in the development of the use of space and texture, without being hindered by his limitations in sensing color differentiations.

Milton’s work is held in over 150 museums throughout the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; The British Museum and the Tate Gallery, London; and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

This is the first showing of Milton’s work at the Fine Arts Museums since the highly successful traveling exhibition of his prints sponsored by the International Exhibitions Foundation in 1977.


This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Currently on view