Emanuel A. Petersen (1894-1948) has painted Greenland’s nature and civilizations with large enthusiasm from 1920 to 1948, and up to 150 of Petersen’s pieces of artwork, known as well as less known, can be found at Nuuk Art Museum.
Emanuel A. Petersen (EAP) believed that the ties between Denmark and Greenland should be strengthened, which he thought could be done by sharing Greenland’s beauty with the Danes (among other initiatives).
It was the Greenlandic nature, when most beautiful, that interested EAP the most – he is famous for catching the light in particular; as the sun’s beams hits land, ice, and water.
He was educated to be a theatre decoration painter, and had a background in porcelain painting specializing in seascape. Nevertheless he received the nickname ‘The Greenland Painter’ in 1924 after four years of work illustrating Greenland’s natural beauty in oil paintings.
EAP was ambitious – he applied for and received funding for expeditions to Greenland with the goal to connect colony and ‘motherland’ closer together. In his opinion the Danes should know how picturesque Greenland was, and it is estimated that EAP painted approximately 2000 pictures in his lifetime – oil paintings, watercolor paintings, sketches, and oil drawings. EAP had a wish to reach to every civilization in Greenland in his lifetime – an ambition which would send him on the journeys of his life. Even though many challenges and snowstorms hit his road, there is almost always high sun and almost never any wind in any of EAP’s paintings from Greenland.
EAP is famous for his idyllic oil paintings from all over Greenland, but what few people know, is that these are painted in Denmark. The artist brought drawing tools and watercolors on his trips to Greenland, but not the impractical oil colors and canvases. Nuuk Art Museum is also exhibiting a number of Emanuel A. Petersen’s sketches.