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The Dennos Museum Center

Fred Petroskey: A Leelanau Portrait

January 18 - April 12, 2009

Selected works by this regional artist shown in association with the release of a book on his work. Petroskey has been a life-long resident of the region and is a notable portrait painter.

"Fred Petroskey is a fine, thoroughly professional and admirable artist.  His wonderful portraits always discover the soul beneath the skin."
- Jim Harrison, author

"Fred Petroskey's work reflects not just the physical attributes of each of his subjects, but the heart and mystery that exists uniquely in every person.  When he began applying his talent to people in and about Leelanau County, the soul of the county itself emerged and took root upon his canvasses."
- Deborah Wyatt Fellows, Editor in Chief, Traverse Magazine

About Fred Petroskey

Fred T. Petroskey was born in 1933 in the village of Lake Leelanau, Michigan. Growing up in this idyllic and pastoral setting during World War II, he attended St. Mary School where many of his classmates recollected his earliest efforts as remarkable considering that he had received no formal training at that point. Upon graduation from high school, Petroskey spent the next ten years in various life-pursuits before finally entering Western Michigan University as an art major.

After completion of his studies, a teaching career would keep him in Kalamazoo, where he established the Art Department at the Delton-Kellogg School. He moved his young family to Boston in 1967 where he accepted an instructor's position at the De Cordova Museum of Art. It was during this period Petroskey further developed his unique style and characterization of subjects. In addition to his teaching responsibilities in Boston, he also established a highly successful private studio where he produced a significant body of work.

In 1984 Petroskey and his wife, Molly, returned to Leelanau County. Petroskey continued to teach, this time at Northwestern Michigan College. In the last 20 years, Petroskey captured and preserved the images of his community, his classmates, teachers, neighbors and friends. More than that, his paintings have documented a disappearing way of life. Within this exhibition of paintings are his visual statements, these portraits are personal, vibrant, they serve as a permanent record of this area's history.