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Christian Petersen

Dybbol, North Slesvig, Denmark 1885

Ames, Iowa 1961

Active in:

  • Attleboro, Massachusetts

Luce Artist Quote

"I believe the first tool I ever used was a chisel---even before using a pencil." Christian Petersen, quoted in Bliss, Christian Petersen Remembered, 1986

Luce Artist Biography

In January 1934, Christian Petersen was unemployed and "broke" when he received a letter from Grant Wood. The famous American painter wanted Petersen to come to Iowa to help him create murals for $26.50 a week for the Public Works of Art Project. Petersen and his wife, Charlotte, took out a loan to travel to Iowa, and after working for Wood, Petersen became the first artist-in-residence at Iowa State University, where he continued to teach until 1961. Scandinavian by birth, Petersen connected with the simple, bucolic region and once said, "I have always maintained that if we wanted to have a true American art it had to start in the Midwest" (Wilson, Christian Petersen, Sculptor, 1962).