An American painter and printmaker of Danish birth, Roland Petersen was born in Endelave, Denmark in 1926. He studied at the University of California at Berkeley, from which he received a Master’s degree in 1950. Petersen went on to study painting during the summers of 1950 and 1951 at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in Provincetown, Massachusetts. In 1951 and 1952, he studied photography at the California School of Fine Arts in Oakland, and in 1954 at the California College of Arts and Crafts also in Oakland, he studied ceramics. Petersen continued his studies focusing on etching and color printing at the Stanley William Hayter Atlier in Paris in 1950, 1963 and 1971. Roland Peterson won a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship. He served as art professor at the University of California, Davis from 1956 to 1991.
Earning a reputation as one of California’s leading contemporary artists, Roland Petersen’s richly colored acrylic genre, interiors, and cityscape pieces are a combination of realism and interlocking geometric shapes. His works are in color intaglio, a category of printmaking techniques including etching, drypoint, and engraving, which is used to achieve textures within the image. Aside from his strong use of color, he is known for his contrast of light and shadow, and the integration of still life, figure, and landscape.
Roland Petersen’s work exhibitions include the Oakland Art Museum in 1954, Crocker Art Museum in 1965, Phoenix Art Museum in 1972, and the University of Reading, England in 1977. His paintings have been displayed in numerous gallery exhibitions in San Francisco between 1978 and 1993. In March 2010, the Monterey Museum of Art in Monterey, California used Peterson’s work as the subject of a major retrospective entitled “Roland Petersen: 50 Years of Painting”.