Satisfied with his achievements during the Sixties in graphic design, illustration and printing, Max returned to the energy he found in painting. In contrast to his fast-paced lifestyle, Max spent a good part of the ‘70s quietly painting and spending time with his family. While on the outside Max may have appeared dormant, in private a new wave of activity was beginning. Working with larger canvasses and brushes, he began to physically immerse himself in the process of painting, enjoying the freedom that came from not having to conform to the limitations of the press.
During this time, Max drew on his expertise as a colorist, and his art reflected an exploitation of color for color’s sake. In 1974, Max was commissioned to create an image by the US Postal Service for the first 10-cent stamp. He created a theme on “preserve the environment,” becoming the first artist to promote ecological conservation. This theme has become one of Max’ lifelong causes and can be seen in commissions for Greenpeace, Earth Day, Children of the Americas as well as his landscape paintings. His series I Love the World reflects this theme with an atmospheric, almost ethereal, series of images of an angel holding the Earth.
In the late ‘70’s and into the early ‘80’s Max gradually became aware that his time of secluded introspection was complete; there were campaigns to mount and ideas to publicize. His fame afforded him access to some of the most significant events and his work reflects many of these events. In the 1980s, Max truly became a “public artist.” Unlike his pop-art contemporaries, his commissions from the ‘80s glorify and beautify their subjects, and a sustained flurry of celebrity portraits and presidential commissions ensued.