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Visitors scanning the walls of Peter Egeli's studio on the
banks of the St. Mary's River are immediately struck by
both the serenity and the vibrancy of the place and the
man who created it. The painting, sketches, books, models
and furniture all reflect Egeli's sense of artistic tradition,
delight in nature, love of the water, appreciation of superior
workmanship, and keen understanding of the human form. These
enduring interests and his integrity are evident in his
nationally recognized art work.
The oldest of five children born to a family of artists,
Peter Even Egeli was only five years old when his mother
gave him his first lesson in perspective drawing. Growing
up on his family's Southern Maryland farm, he developed
an active interest in the outdoors and painted numerous
watercolors of birds and animals, often using his paintings
as covers for his grade school lessons. His father, the
Norwegian/American portrait painter Bjorn Egeli,
maintained a studio on the farm. Peter was often called
upon to be a stand-in model for his father's subjects and
would watch the progression of the portraits of famous sitters.
In his father's studio, Peter often did charcoal self-portraits
and drawings of friends.
In 1952, at the age of 18, Peter enrolled
in formal art classes at the Corcoran School of Art. Four
years later and after a tour of duty with the United States
Marine Corps, he entered the Maryland Institute of Art,
where in his final year he won first prize in the Senior
Concours. From 1961 to 1967, he taught drawing and painting
at St. Mary's College of Maryland and continued to develop
as a portrait and marine artist.
His Norwegian heritage early manifested itself
in Egeli's strong interest in ships and boats, especially
nineteenth century wooden sailing vessels. In his spare
time, he built a thirty-foot gaff cutter in which, with
his wife and two children, he has sailed extensively. He
has painted numerous marines in oil, watercolor, and pastel.
Peter applies the same integrity of purpose to his painting
of landscape and marine subjects as he does to his portraits.
Depictions of historic vessels and places are all carefully
researched and thoughtfully developed in a variety of mediums.
He is a charter member, Fellow, and past president of the
American Society of Marine Artists.
As a portrait painter, Peter Egeli is considered
by many to be among the best in this difficult and demanding
genre. His lifelike portraits grace the walls of boardrooms
of government, industry and academia. Many hang in private
homes where the decor of a room is often built around one
of his insightful likenesses. He has an intense love for
the art and craft of painting.