Three generations of American Artists, from left Arthur Egeli, his grandfather Bjorn Egeli, and his father Cedric Egeli at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in 1984. Bjorn passed on later that year.
“As an artist, I hope to show the viewer things he has never seen before, or a new way to look at his everyday world. It could be the warm afternoon on a gracious and grand structure, the emptiness in a high desert landscape, or an intimate moment shared by two young women in a café. I hope that my painting style honors the traditions of the past, but adds to that legacy by reflecting our times.”
Arthur Bjorn Egeli is a third generation painter. His Norwegian-American grandfather, Bjorn Egeli, painted official portraits of Nixon and Eisenhower, and his parents, Joanette and Cedric, are among the most sought after portrait painters in the country. There are more than twelve painters in Arthur’s family, including his two sisters, Ingrid and Anastasia, his uncles, Peter and Bjorn James Egeli, his aunts, Mary Lois Ekroos and Caroline Page, and his cousin, Lisa Egeli.
Arthur began his artistic career at fifteen years of age sketching portraits in the summer on the sidewalk in the resort town of Hyannis on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Graduating in 1982 from Severn School, he was ranked by the National Arts and Talent Search as a Promising Young Artist (as a Distinguished Alumni, he was asked by Severn to be the commencement speaker at the 1997 graduation ceremony).
Awarded a Creative Arts Scholarship at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Arthur split his time between college and art class at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Arthur’s parents, Cedric and Joanette, had carefully set up an atelier atmosphere at Maryland Hall, where students could paint and draw from a live model every day of the week. At age 84, Arthur’s grandfather, Bjorn Egeli, commuted two hours twice a week to give Arthur a classical training difficult to obtain during the post-modern period. During the summer, Arthur studied color with impressionist Henry Hensche, who became a significant influence on his developing style.
Thoroughly grounded in a traditional training, Arthur moved to Southern California in 1989 to follow his interest in filmmaking. His parents disapproved. “Why not pursue something financially sound and practical,” they asked, “like painting? You could settle down and plan a career.”
Away from his family, Arthur was finally able to fuse the influences of Hensche color and his parent’s realism into a style of his own, which combines light and form to create images that reveal more than the objects they depict. He also found a sympathetic atmosphere in California, where a strong tradition of plein air painters, both past and present, welcomed him.
Nearly fifteen years later, Arthur lives in Pasadena with his wife, Heather Egeli. He is a full-time painter and regularly exhibits his paintings in Southern California, including the California Art Club’s Annual Gold Medal Exhibition. He has had many exhibitions and shows, and his paintings are in numerous private and corporate collections, including McGraw-Hill Publishing in New York City. In 2001, he was awarded the William Schultz Award for Oil Painting by the American Impressionists’ Society. In 2001 and 2002, he won the Award of Merit by the Portrait Society of America. On any given afternoon, Arthur may be found giving a plein air workshop called “Color Bootcamp” in Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco.
Arthur has also pursued his interest in filmmaking while living in the Los Angeles area. “Unconditional Love,” an award-winning feature about the coming-of-age of a young painter, won the $110,000 Jury Prize at the Hampton’s International Film Festival and a Gold Medal at the Houston Film Festival. In 2001, his feature, “Getting It Real,” was nominated for best screenplay by the Video Premier Awards. He has other projects in development, including a film about the formative years of the painter Claude Monet, a romantic comedy/Christmas fantasy titled, “Magic Scissors,” and a Cape Cod murder/mystery.