Vintage portraits by Peter Engels

 


ABOUT PETER ENGELS:

'Painting portraits is my real passion,' Peter Engels says, 'but do not underestimate the glorious feeling of landscape painting under the blue sky of Tuscany or in the south or France'.

Peter Engels has painted portraits as long as he can remember. All of his fellow school students were given paintings, drawings and portraits. At the age of 12 Peter once came home with a big zero for drawing. The teacher did not believe that the drawing was made by young Peter.

At the art academy Peter was told he had to paint the exact shapes of the models. 'Do not idealise forms and shapes,' they said. That was a good moment to quit. 'In fact,' Peter Engels says, 'that was the moment that I felt like a rebellious artist. From that moment on I worked like crazy to put together an exhibition. My way. When I was about 24,  I had my first solo exhibition. I nearly sold every painting I had.'

Around the mid eighties, Peter Engels painted tropical views. 'That was what intrigued me: palm trees, emerald seas, white beaches.' And he painted portraits. 'Mainly girls,' he laughs. He also was intrigued by ancient Egypt and some of his paintings were influenced by it. That is when he started to travel more often and visit the places he dreamed about.

His interest in art grew to larger proportions. Peter Engels painted, had exhibitions and studied how e.g. Claude Monet, Degas, Edward Hopper and Nico Vrielink made their paintings. He visited exhibitions in Paris, Düsseldorf and Amsterdam. 'I remember at the Monet exhibition in Paris people urged me to stand back from the paintings. I wanted to see how Monet used his brushes. You cannot see that from a distance. People must have thought I was inpolite and ignorant. But, hey, being a painter is a tough business.'

More often Peter Engels had exhibitions together with his father, Marcel Engels, who was a landscape painter. Organising exhibitions became too hard for Marcel Engels. When in the spring of 2005 his father died, Peter Engels stopped organising exhibitions only for himself. He started concentrating on his portraits, his real passion.

'And now It is time for something else,' he says. It is time for large 'Vintage Portraits'. At first coloured portraits, but gradually less colour and more close-up. Notice the large brush strokes and the use of the knife. These portraits in sepia colours are sometimes finished with gold leaf. Less color, more light and maximum expression are the elements Peter Engels ads in order to create a state-of-the-art portrait. His work is strong and graphic with a unique touch. Peter Engels portrayed celebrities like Brigitte Bardot, Ernest Hemingway, Elvis Presley, Ursula Andress, Marlon Brando, Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Julia Roberts, Roger Moore, Toots Thielemans, Marilyn Monroe, Jennifer Lopez, The Beatles, Luciano Pavarotti, The Dalai Lama,...

Since 2003 Peter Engels started to paint his large sepia coloured portraits. He calls them 'Vintage Portraits'. At first he painted with the brush but now he only uses the palette knife. Peter Engels paints portraits of people he admires, people with character heads. That is why he painted  Nelson Mandela, the man who fought for his cause and was sentenced to lifelong emprisonment, got out after 27 years and became president. When Mandela turned 90, news agency Reuters decided to put Peter Engels' tribute to the former South-African president on the largest billboard of the world in Times Square.

'The fact that my Nelson Mandela painting appeared on Times Square changed my career completely,' Peter Engels says. Hundreds of newspapers, magazines, radio and tv stations all over the world reported. And more than twenty thousand websites mentioned the event. After that the road to succes was open for Peter Engels.

What happens when this artist by coincidence runs into Karl Lagerfeld at The Mercer Hotel in Soho, New York? Dark glasses, black suit, white ponytail,… Karl Lagerfeld fits precisely the color palette Peter Engels uses. The result was another breathtaking Vintage Portrait.

Peter Engels’ artistic uniqueness is highlighted in the way he frames his subjects on canvas, an act of revolutionary creativity. His sepia colorite, his extraordinary style and his particular brand of painting with a palette knife are his unique signature.

Peter Engels goes beyond merely painting the physical features; he captures the inner soul. Peter Engels’ ‘Vintage Portraits’ have a rare quality and style, as well as a contemporary artistic, mature look. The art of portrait painting literally receives a new face in Peter Engels’ work. As if portrait painting rises from the dust like a phenix.

 

'My way of figurative painting,' Peter Engels says, 'is a reaction against most of the art today, I think. Abstract painting is very often hiding a lack of knowhow, technique and/or time. Think about it. Modern art is overrated. To make art should be an 'Art'. Unique and original. Not something anybody can perform. Everybody can talk. But to speak to a public and say sensible things, that's an art. Anybody can hold a brush, but to paint a resembling portrait with it, that is an art. Throwing bright colours to a canvas can be funny to look at. But it is not art. Anybody can do it. But who is the fool? The one who performs this kind of creative outburst? Or the one who pays a billion for it?'

And then tere are the critics. We all can like the looks of a car. But only few people can really assess that car. It is the same for buildings: we can like how a certain building looks, but only few people can really appreciate that building with knowledge and knowhow on al its qualities. It is the same with art. A critic should at least be able to make one in order to judge. The pseudo critics are killing art. And it is not the one who is shouting the loudest that is right.

Painting portraits like Peter Engels does, is profoundly artistic. It requires skill and technique. It requires talent, vision and style. It is creative. And it is not 'l'art pour l'art'. This is pure quality work with a rich composition and a talented, swift technique. Keywords are 'high quality' and 'highly virtuous'. This is the time for Peter Engels to brake through. And this is the time to invest in a Peter Engels. For a Peter Engels will be soon very expensive.

We have seen enough of modern art. It is time for Roman aestetics again. It is time for the essence of art: profound artistic beauty based on knowhow. The beauty of these 'Vintage Portraits'.can really assess that car. It is the same for buildings: we can like how a certain building looks, but only few people can really appreciate that building with knowledge and knowhow on al its qualities. It is the same with art. A critic should at least be able to make one in order to judge. The pseudo critics are killing art. And it is not the one who is shouting the loudest that is right.

Painting portraits like Peter Engels does, is profoundly artistic. It requires skill and technique. It requires talent, vision and style. It is creative. And it is not 'l'art pour l'art'. This is pure quality work with a rich composition and a talented, swift technique. Keywords are 'high quality' and 'highly virtuous'. This is the time for Peter Engels to brake through. And this is the time to invest in a Peter Engels. For a Peter Engels will be soon very expensive.

We have seen enough of modern art. It is time for Roman aestetics again. It is time for the essence of art: profound artistic beauty based on knowhow. The beauty of these 'Vintage Portraits'.

2008 was a fantastic year for Peter Engels and his art. His Nelson Mandela portrait was exhibited on the biggest billboard of the world on Times Square. He met Karl Lagerfeld and painted his portrait. He went to Mallorca and painted the partrait of Catherine-Zeta Jones. As a result of all this Peter Engels became an international artist. His carreer got the boost he wanted. Investing in his art will proove more secure than investing in property or shares.

Over the years Peter Engels has discovered that he masters the rare and exclusive skill of portrait painting. 'But my own unique way and style is even more important to me,' he says. 'Painting with the pallet knife in my sepia colors is my unique signature. The widespread recognition I get stimulates me enormously.'

The work of Peter Engels reaches a high level of artistic quality. The art world cannot ignore his outstanding performances. The better galleries are interested. The collectors with an eye for rising stars have spotted him. The demand is growing although Peter Engels can only make a limited number of portraits. He refuses to be rushed. High quality first.

'I would love to exhibit my work in the better galleries and museums all over the world. I strongly feel that my work can grow by broadening my horizons. It is the inevitable next phase,' Peter Engels says.