Current Research

Current Research

Curator of Fine Arts Alan Petersen is currently working on two projects-- the first is a monograph on the life and art of Arizona painter Merrill Mahaffey (b. 1937). Mahaffey is known for his paintings depicting the landscapes of the Southwest and Rocky Mountains. He is best known for his paintings of Grand Canyon done from the Colorado River in the heart of the Canyon. Paintings in Mahaffey’s mature style are a unique synthesis of realism and abstraction.

The second project Petersen is working on is a monograph on the life and art of Swedish-American painter Gunnar Widforss (b. 1879 – d. 1934). Widforss came to the United States in 1921 and came to be known as “The painter of national parks,” as a result of his paintings of Yosemite Valley, Grand Canyon and other western national parks. Petersen is also compiling a catalogue raisonné of Widforss’ works. The catalogue raisonné currently lists more than 850 works made by Widforss.

If you have a painting by Gunnar Widforss, or know someone else who does, please contact Alan Petersen.