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Charles Rollo Peters (1862-1928)
Charles Rollo Peters was born in San Francisco in 1862, where he also received his first art instruction at the School of Design with Virgil Williams and Chris Jorgensen. Following private lessons with Jules Tavernier, Peters left for Paris to study at the Academie Julian and Ecole des Beaux Arts. In Paris James McNeill Whistler was quite complimentary to Peters, leaving a profound impact on the artist.
Peters traveled between San Francisco and Europe until about 1896 when he moved to Monterey, California, where he co-founded the Del Monte Art Gallery, the first gallery to devote itself exclusively to the works of the California painters. In Monterey Peters developed a fondness for the crumbling adobes of the Spanish Colonial era, and these buildings bathed in moonlight became his signature motif.
Peters’ home during his early years in Monterey were a gathering spot for California painters and parties. Lavish parties and excessive drinking, fueled by sadness over the deaths of his wife and a daughter were all too common on his 30 acre estate, especially following the 1906 earthquake and fire that displaced a great number of his artist friends.
Peters’ lifestyle caught up to him following a trip to London, and in 1910 his estate was foreclosed upon, triggering further depression and increased drinking which took tolls on his health and art. With his estranged second wife at his side, Charles Rollo Peters died in San Francisco in 1928.
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