Peter Ilsted was born in rural Denmark in 1861. He created some of the first mezzotint works ever done and most of his best works were produced in the early twentieth century when he lived in Copenhagen.
Most of Ilsted’s works are characterized by a common subject theme, contemporary women (late 19th century, early 20th century), shown from the back, completing simple, everyday tasks.
Ilsted began creating prints as a student at the Copenhagen Interior School in 1882. By 1909, he had abandoned etching and devoted his time exclusively to mezzotint. Ilsted’s warm regard for Dutch genre painting of the 17th century influenced his art as much as his appreciation of the orderly, deserted interiors painted by his celebrated brother-in-law, Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916). Ilsted also learned from Whistler about the rich nuances of grays and he often released both black and white versions of an image from the same plate. His prints are imbued with a sublime light, which he creates through his grounding methods, the use of chine colle, and selective wiping techniques during the inking process.