K. Gunnor Petersen (1905-1982)
Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1905, he came to the US with his parents at the age of nine. The family settled in Illinois where, as a boy, he worked on farms, handling animals. Horses became a favorite study and later, one of his most interesting subjects. He chose art at an early age and completed courses in art and portrait painting at the Chicago Art Institute under Oberteuffer. He also studied privately under J. Wellington Reynolds. After studying advertising illustration at the Chicago Academy of Arts and taking course work in anatomy at the New York Students League under Bridgman, he began a career as art director and illustrator in Chicago.
In 1928, he came to Roswell, New Mexico for his health, a consequence of conctracting tuberculosis. While in Roswell, he met and married Stella Lewis, a West Texas woman who was also in Roswell for health reasons. She soon became his favorite model and later appeared in countless of his illustrations. When he and his wife returned to the east, first to Chicago and then to New York City, he became a very successful free lance magazine and advertising illustrator whose work appeared in dozens of the nation's leading publications including Life, Look, Colliers, Hearst publications and many others.
His beautiful wife passed away and he continued to work until retirement in 1968 and returned to Roswell, a town he dearly loved. His new fiancee returned with him later on. They were both killed in a tragic one car accident after striking a parked truck on the outskirts of Roswell in 1982. His estate, in part, was left to a close friend, and consisted of a large assortment of his wonderful artwork which had been stored for many years.
Information submitted as a bulletin by Robert McDonald.