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(American, b. 1947)
Richard Peterson is an entirely self-taught artist who honors an allegiance to the classical techniques of the 17th century while steadfastly maintaining his own artistic individuality. Born in San Pedro, California in 1947, Peterson is in many ways typical of the gifted young artists and craftsmen of the 1960’s generation. No lover of the modern art imposed by traditional art schools, he set about teaching himself through a strict, self-imposed curriculum. Studying the lives and techniques of the great masters of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries as well as visiting both American and European museums gave Peterson a strong foundation in art history.
Best known for his landscapes, Peterson recreates on canvas life the way it was long ago in England and Central Europe. Shepherds, boatmen, peasant, towers and castles looking over green valleys, lakes and woodlands are all common subjects for the artist. Comparable in quality to many of yesterday’s fine works, Peterson seems to surge forth as a haunting voice from the past, from a time when life was more simple.
Like the early English artists, Peterson also works often on small canvases. He does not paint from pictures, but draws upon his extensive knowledge and memory of scenes from nature and the images engraved on his memory of his frequent trips to Europe. He has commented, "I have a good memory for faces, places and objects I see". It is this same keen memory which enables him to play pieces on piano by ear of all time great composers. Tending to shun modern things and the haste with which they are often produced, Peterson is drawn to anything designed and fashioned by loving hands, and cared for throughout the years by those who appreciate what the artisan has created.
Richard Peterson is perhaps an enigma even to himself, but one thing that is certain, his paintings have brought joy to many. Featured in exhibitions in the United States, England, Switzerland, France and Austria, his work is now found in many fine collections.