We drove down to the Borders store and purchased a copy of the book, and then stood in a long line. One of the employees announced that if you wanted Peter Max to sign the book to a particular person, to write the name of that person on a slip of paper.
We wrote down ‘Don Rubbo’ on a piece of paper. We know that Peter Max hadn’t seen that name in many, many years.
In 1962, Peter Max, Tom Daly and their mentor Don Rubbo started a small Manhattan arts studio together, the Daly & Max Studio. Although his name wasn’t listed, Don Rubbo joked that he was the ampersand in Daly & Max Studio. In 1963, Daly, Max and Rubbo did the illustration, design and color for Helga Sandburg’s (the daughter of poet Carl Sandburg) children’s book Joel and the Wild Goose. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Rubbo)
At the book signing, we waited patiently for our turn, inching slowly up to the table where Peter Max sat hunched over the books as he was signing them. He rarely looked up, only glancing over at the slips of paper and writing a quick inscription. Finally we reached the table, slid our book to him and placed the piece of paper with ‘Don Rubbo’ on top of the book.
He stared at the piece of paper for a few moments, and then looked up at Donald with a big smile. He leaped over the table and grabbed Donald in a bear hug, exclaiming, “Your father taught us all!”
As the long line of people watched, Peter and Donald were engaged in a lengthy conversation, and finally Peter said to Donald, “Send me a photo of your dad, and I will make a painting of him for you!”
Several years passed, and recently I emailed him again, gently reminding him of his offer, and saying how much it would mean to Donald to receive the painting. I sent again a photo, one that Don Rubbo had taken of himself sitting with his sons, with Donald just behind his shoulder.
Peter’s assistant called me, and said she thought the photo was so exquisite, and that Peter would be creating a painting for Donald and that it would be shipped soon. We were beyond excited, so thrilled and honored, and looking forward to seeing the painting.
It finally arrived, and it is truly a magnificent piece of art. We are deeply grateful to Peter, and as Donald examined the painting, he could feel the energy and love that Peter put into every brush stroke.
Thank you, Peter!