Sunday, May 17, 2009

Carl William Peters 1897-1980

Carl William Peters has been called "one of the best-kept secrets of 20th Century American art."

He grew up in New York state, in both rural and urban situations, and studied art at the (then) Mechanics Institute in Rochester (now the Rochester Institute of Technology). He became friends with Charles and Emile Gruppe and later attended lectures by Robert Henri at the Art Students League in New York City and its summer school in Woodstock.

While he was learning and beginning to establish himself as an artist in the early years of the last century, Modernism and Impressionism were the primary influences in the art world. American art in general and representational art in particular had gone out of fashion. But Peters always painted common local scenes, both natural and man-made.

Eventually he painted in New England, especially Cape Ann, an artist colony which had been called "The Brittany of America." Art colonies originated in Europe and later appeared in the U.S. around the turn of the last century. They were instrumental in the development of plein-air painting and Impressionism. Certain elements of cubism appear in Peters' work, adding a "Cezannesque formalism" to his basically realist style.

- Sarah Judson


Love, Richard H., Carl W. Peters, American Scene Painter, from Rochester to Rockport, Boydell & Brewer, 1999

Shipp, Steve, American Art Colonies 1850-1930, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996


victoriasart said...

Thank you for finding that gem of a painting and including the book/author about the artist. so hard to believe that art with that kind of light was ever "out of fashion." It is my first time to visit this blog, but I can see it will be worth following.

Judsons Art Outfitters said...

Thanks, Victoria! Great blog...interesting experiences and insights