Persona April, 23rd 2020 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 261 - Pieter Kaltner

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 261 – Pieter Kaltner
Pieter Kaltner cannot do without art. He needs always a pencil or a brush in his hand. When he has a sheet of paper and paint nearby, it starts to itch. Recently he has bought old frames that he is restoring. He put a modern, abstract work in a frame of 200 years old.
“It is really fun to do”, says Pieter Kaltner (80) in his studio in a beautiful green neighborhood in Voorburg. His studio has work from several decades. It started with classical work. I see a boat on a river with houses on the side, it could be a scene from France. “I did that for years.” An Art Deco woman, as you saw it on posters, a water at Nieuwkoop, St. Tropez, with the Méditerranée in the background and more abstract works, which would fit in De Stijl.

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Studio in Aincreville
He did the last works with a palette knife. That is hard to imagine, the paint is applied so finely. It turns out to be a specialty of Kaltner, which he also taught to his students in his studio in France, in Aincreville in the French Ardennes. From 1989 to about fifteen years ago, Kaltner worked, he was called Pierre, in a studio of 80 m2, part of two old barns that he converted himself.
Kaltner: “I was there 25/30 ago, in Aincreville, not far from the river Maas / Meuse, half an hour from Verdun. I was there with my then 10-year-old son. Two large stables 8.5 to 9 meters high in the center were on sale. I heard that there was a lot of interest from Belgium and the Netherlands. I walked around it twice. Then I said to the broker, ‘I buy it’. Everyone was amazed. There were no floors, but I saw great possibilities.

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I haven’t even bargained for it. ”
For two years, Kaltner drove to and fro on the weekends, between Voorburg and Aincreville, sometimes with a large trailer behind his car with trusses on it to make floors. He built, plastered and painted. “I had been forced to learn that in my ‘poor time’, I did a lot of work when I was young.” After two years it was finished, Atelier Montmartre. It looked great. “I couldn’t do any more harm to the mayor.”

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Painting lessons
He put advertisements in the major newspapers inviting people to take painting and drawing lessons. “Price: 500 guilders. Tout compris. Eight people per week could participate. There were rooms for 10-12 people. I guided people with drawing and painting. We went out as much as possible, painting nice places. I also taught people to work with a palette knife. People thought that was fantastic. They were surprised how much was to be seen. ‘Painting outside means good observation’, I told people.” The responses were good. Some came back, sometimes several times. I see photos of the students, including Ed Wilbrink, who never stopped painting, and Ronnie Meerts, a Jewish painter from The Hague. Kaltner was behind the bar every night. “The alcohol flowed freely.” At the end of the course, the students received a diploma. I see it, a beautifully designed certificate from Atelier Montmartre with space for signatures.

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Pieter Kaltner shows newspaper articles from Dutch and French newspapers. In addition, pictures of him, usually with a hat, between the pots of paint and painting with a lot of people behind him. “I dared everything. Many people only start talking when someone asks them a question. I was not bothered by that. I started to talk when I was behind the easel with a painting. That made me enthusiastic, I showed what I could do and I sold well. ”

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I see a headline: “Pieter Kaltner a choisi de s’installer a Aincreville pour plonger ses pinceaux dans la Meuse” (Pieter Kaltner settled in Aincreville to dip his brushes in the Meuse). A photo with the mayor and the Atelier. During the winter time, Kaltner was active in The Hague. “I gave drawing and painting lessons in almost all neighborhood centers.” In addition, he was often found at antique markets. “I saw things that intrigued me. Hindelooper painting, icons. That challenged me. When I see something new I want to try that too. I learned to paint with a fine brush with two or three hairs.” He shows me a Christ icon, very finely painted. “I was always able to earn because of my versatility.”

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Orphan in the war
Initially it didn’t look like it would go like this. As a young boy, he lost everything. “I am an orphan. I was always alone from the age of three to five, I never spoke. I was placed with foster families in the countryside. These were older people with whom I had hardly any contact. If I sat at the table and I had paper and pencil, that was a way out. I could indulge myself in that, at those moments I completely enjoyed myself. ”
In Leiden he ends up with a strict religious family. Nothing was allowed, especially on Sunday. Pieter withdrew to the attic room, where he drew. One of the sons, Jean-Pierre, who later made a name for himself as a fashion designer, cared about his step brother’s fate. He introduced him to the owner of an advertising agency in Leiden. “R.I.O. that agency was called, Reclame (advertising) Is Turnover. I was sixteen. I learned a lot. At the same time, I registered for an evening course at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague, advertising design and painting. Very nice.” He shows me his first school report from the KABK.
I see exercises he did. Colored lines in perspective in harmonica form, a very precise work. A drawing of a boy hearing a tragic piece of music, the boy is in tears, sketches of fashion dresses inspired by the work of Jean-Pierre, his stepbrother.

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Poor time
In 1960 he entered military service for two years. Then came what he calls his ‘poor time’. He does not want to say too much about it, except that he got skilled in dealing with materials. After three years he was back on the right track. He only made art, including murals. I see a wall painting on a wall in Voorburg, depicting a town on the Méditerranée. “Thanks to my chores, before applying that painting, I was able to make the wall nice and smooth, so that the work came out well.”

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I look around again. I see a snow landscape with forest, also made with a palette knife. A large painting of a woman with birds in Paris with the Sacré-Cœur in the background. “I first had one with a palette knife, I made this one with a brush.” A 2011 painting of his wife Anne in a black chair and a black round table. His wife was born in Indonesia, on Java, I already saw a big golden Buddha statue in the hallway.
He now has three children who all ended up well. “The daughter has a degree in chemistry, the sons are both engineers.” He has sold his studio in France. “To someone in The Hague who was very interested in the area, he loves the area. He is a pharmaceutical representative and invites his contacts there. ”

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A rich person
How does he look back on this remarkable life? Kaltner: “I did everything for my art. I feel like a rich person. ”
1)Lavender, 2) Bonnieux oil paint, 3) St. Tropez, 4) first studio in Leiden, 1957, 5) Grass, 6) Icon, 7) Poppy, 8) Anne, 9) oil paint 2, 10) atelier

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