Berkeley, California, United States
University of California, Berkeley
Provincetown, Massachusetts, United States
Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts
5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618, United States
California College of the Arts
Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, United States
University of California, Davis
In 1949, Roland received his Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating from the University of California in Berkeley. He continued his studies and the following year, Petersen got Master of Arts degree from the same university. During the period from 1950 to 1951, the painter attended Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in Provincetown. In 1952, he enrolled at California College of Arts and Crafts (present-day California College of the Arts), where he remained till 1954.
In 1963 and between 1970-1971, Roland attended Stanley William Hayter's Atelier 17 in Paris.
In his early works, Petersen merges pure abstraction and formal analyses of color and space with figural and landscape elements. His extraordinarily sophisticated palette, a striking and brilliant combination of light and dark hues, use of white "as an editing tool to control the eye's journey of discovery", is informed not only by the color theories of Georges Seurat and Hans Hofmann, but also by the emotional expressionism of Vincent Van Gogh, as well as the French symbolists.
In 1956, Roland was appointed a Professor of Art at the University of California in Davis, a post he held till 1992. Also, in the late 1950's, he started to create his well-known "Picnic" series. Inspired by patterns of light and color, that he observed at an annual faculty picnic, these works center on a single female figure or a group of figures, surrounded by various still life elements, set against a pattern of bright colors and sharp California light. With their saturated colors, thick layers of pigment and geometric compositions, these works bring to mind the gestural brushwork of Bay Area artists, such as David Park, Elmer Bischoff and Richard Diebenkorn, who radically revitalized figurative painting in the Bay Area after World War II. Towards the end of the decade, due to an allergic reaction to oil pigments, Petersen abandoned oils for acrylics.
In March of 2010, his work was the subject of a major retrospective "Roland Petersen: 50 Years of Painting", which was held at the Monterey Museum of Art in Monterey, California.
Roland is a member of American Association of University Professors, San Fransciso Art Association and California Society Printmakers.
Caryl Ritter Petersen became Roland's second wife on March 4, 2003. Petersen's previous marriage produced four children — Dana Mark, Maura Brooke, Julien Conrad (died in 2014) and Karena Caia.