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.
Arthur Egeli has participated in many exhibitions and shows. A versatile painter, his subjects range from figurative work to maritime, cityscape and landscape. 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. In 2004 he won an award for composition
at the Paint Annapolis Exhibition, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association.