Max had started his studio in Manhattan in 1962 at the age of 25, after having studied at the Art Students League and the School of Visual Arts. This poster, created for retailer J.C. Penney in 1967, already features several of the elements that constitute the style Max is famous for: celestial bodies, gradients, and, above all, a wide palette of bold colors.
His type choices aren’t shy either. The title on the rainbow is set in caps from Secession. This top-heavy face with the characteristic “ink spot” entry strokes originated at the Eduard Scholz foundry in Vienna. In 1905, it was reproduced in Ludwig Petzendorfer’s Schriftenatlas. Neue Folge. More than half a century later, in the 1960s, Photo-Lettering, Inc. in NYC added it to their library, responding to a renewed interest in the Art Nouveau aesthetic. Peter Max picked the painterly face for his personal logo, too, here in all lowercase, see the cartouche at the bottom of the poster. The logo is still being used in this form.