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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 outstanding 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.

Peter E. Egeli at his home. (Photograph by Philip Bermingham)

Peter painting with daughter, Lisa Egeli. (See her work on her website by clicking here.)


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