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Carl W. Peters


Carl Peters was a painter born in Fairport, New York to German immigrant parents and was one of seven children. In 1914 he enrolled at the Rochester Mechanics Institute (now the Rochester Institute of Technology) where he learned about sign painting, set design, illustration, and landscape painting. He served in the United States Army during World War I but never went to the front. In 1919 after the end of the war Peters settled for a short time in New York and enrolled at the Art Students League. Starting in 1921 he studied at the National Academy of Design’s Summer School in Woodstock, New York with Charles Rosen (1878-1950), Henry Leith-Ross (1886-1973), and John F. Carlson (1845-1947).

Peters did most of his painting in the rural countryside around his hometown of Fairport, and around Cape Ann and the town of Rockport, Massachusetts, where he spent his summers starting in 1925 painting the harbor and rocky seaside with bold contrasting colors. In the fall, winter, and spring he painted the landscape around his childhood home. He was especially fond of painting the snow-covered rooftops and icy streams of the region in the winter months.

During the 1930s Peters completed several murals for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) including three at high schools in Rochester, New York. He also taught a professional life class at the University of Rochester. He was a member of the Rockport Art Association, the American Watercolor Society, the Rochester Art Club, and the Buffalo Society of Artists (BSA). In 1926 he received an honorable mention award from the BSA and the Hallgarten Prize from the National Academy of Design, an award given to promising artists under the age of thirty-five. He won the award again in 1928 and 1932. His work was also included in exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Rochester Memorial Gallery among others.