About portrait painter Peter engels

Painting heart and soul

‘I mostly like to paint the characteristic portraits of famous actors, writers, politicians, businessmen, musicians.’ says Peter Engels. But he also paints commissioned works: beloved ones, husbands, relatives…

It is fascinating to see how the thousands of knife strokes gradually form a face and bear the unmistakable signature of the master. Peter Engels says about this himself: ‘I want to capture that bright, glorious look or expression so that the faces shine, show emotion and really seem to live.’ (See video)

About the painting of Nelson Mandela on Times Square in New York, the international press said that Peter Engels does not only paint the mere physical features, but that he succeeds in capturing the character, the heart and soul of Mandela.

Why adding art by Peter Engels to your collection?

Peter Engels himself calls his paintings ‘Vintage Portraits’ as he always has famous people posing for him. The ‘vintage’ aspect is reinforced by the sepia tones he uses.

Paintbrushes are of no use here. Peter Engels exclusively paints with the palette knife, conferring the oeuvre a kind of three-dimensionality and a texture that catches the light beautifully. This adds to the conspicuously handmade aspect of the canvases and is in sharp contrast with mass produced images. (See video)

The knife strokes are so large that the painting seems abstract from a short distance. When watching Peter Engels’ work, do this exercise: look at the work from up close and then gradually step back and view it from a distance. The effect is impressive! Typical features of his very own style are the big close-ups where eyes and mouth are primordial. The rest is decor and falls off the canvas.

Peter Engels wants to paint intensively, exhibit worldwide and show his work at the best international art fairs like Art Basel (Basel and Miami), Frieze and the Armory.

Meeting and painting Karl Lagerfeld

You can guess what happened when Peter Engels, walking past The Mercer Hotel in Soho, New York, accidentally bumped into Karl Lagerfeld. This meeting resulted in an impressive canvas of the flamboyant Lagerfeld: sunglasses, bow tie, white ponytail… Exactly the colour palette that Peter Engels likes to use.

In this painting fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld gazes to the viewer through his dark glasses. We barely see his eyes. It is the look of the model, posing and gazing at the painter.

In the background Peter Engels painted a blurry city skyline alongside a river. Is it New York where he met Karl Lagerfeld? Or is it Lagerfeld’s hometown Paris? A few touches of red add the only bright colour to the painting and gives it its depth.

Later when Karl Lagerfeld and Peter Engels met again, Lagerfeld spoke the historical words: “A mirror reflects my face. This painting reflects my soul.“

The Michael Jackson painting started to cry

On the Indonesian island of Lombok, Michael Jackson was immortalized on a large canvas. Looking at the painting you feel the pain. The passion explodes from the canvas. Engels mixed Lombok beach sand for extra texture to the paint.

Later the Michael Jackson portrait was water damaged in a French art gallery during a nightly storm. As a result, it looks as if Michael cries. As if teardrops roll down his face.

It looks like a supernatural phenomenon. As if Michael Jackson wants to tell us something from the grave. Artist Peter Engels is not superstitious, but he thinks that the tears give the painting an extra dimension. The artist tries to find a plausible explanation for this: “I painted this portrait on the island of Lombok. To give the paint more texture, I mixed beach sand in it. Normally oil and acrylic paint can tolerate a splash of water. But apparently not when it is mixed with this sand.”

Michael Jackson’s right eye started to tear when rainwater seeped in the gallery where the artist had an exhibition. Artist Peter Engels: “I will leave it this way. Mother Nature gave the painting the perfect finishing touch.”

Admiration helps to paint an outstanding portrait.

Peter Engels painted pop music icon Madonna as his version of the Mona Lisa: with a soft and mysterious smile, in sharp contrast to the stage beast that we know.

The very last portrait of tenor Luciano Pavarotti was painted in Italy by Peter Engels, just a few weeks before the world-famous singer passed away.

The portrait of Robert De Niro with cigar is intriguing. The painted canvas is rough; the expression on De Niro’s face says it all. It does not resemble, but is Robert De Niro. The painting was published on the cover of an exclusive  cigar magazine.

Peter Engels also met and painted Roger Moore, Toots Thielemans and many more…

Peter Engels painted Hippocrates, the father of medicine. An art collector bought the painting before it was dry. Engels studied the few remaining sculptures that were made of the ancient Greek philosopher and brought him back to life on a large canvas. The penetrating and breath-taking magnum opus is quite contemporary at the same time. The painting actually conceals Hippocrates’ wise words. In Greek, obviously: ‘Let Your Food Be Your Medicine’. Watch the VIDEO

What better moment for celebrity portrait painter Peter Engels to have business tycoon Richard Branson model for him than during a two and a half hour interview? Peter Engels: ‘It seemed the perfect opportunity to have Richard Branson pose for me. Charming lady Marlène de Wouters interviewed him, but most of all, she easily kept Richard Branson smiling for a couple of hours, which was just enough for me to finish the painting.’ In front of an international audience of 1,600 journalists, politicians, students and entrepreneurs,  Peter Engels painted Richard Branson’s close-up portrait on a large canvas (100x200cm). In the background we see the Antwerp skyline by night. The painting was signed by Richard Branson himself, making this piece of art an even more desirable collector’s item. (see video)

In the fall of 2012 Peter Engels finished the Vintage Portrait of Belgian royalty Princess Astrid, sister of the Belgian King Philippe. Peter Engels was invited to her villa in Brussels for a chat and a photo shoot (see video).

In December 2012 Nicole Kidman lived in Peter Engels’ home village, Brasschaat. She stayed just 500 meters from his atelier and used to jog down his street. Nicole Kidman was there to shoot some of the scenes for her new movie, ‘Grace of Monaco’. The story is about Grace Kelly’s involvement with Monaco’s Prince Rainier and France’s Charles De Gaulle dispute over tax laws in the early 1960s. This painting is a tribute to both Nicole Kidman and Grace Kelly. Watch the sunlight shining delicately through the holes in the straw hat, creating some beautiful claire-obscure effects onto the skin.

Unique and distinctive style

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 style of painting with a palette knife are his unique signature. (see video)

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 phase, a fresh look in Peter Engels’ work. As if portrait painting rises from the dust like a phoenix.

We have never seen this particular style before. It is new and unique. We recognize a Peter Engels by his style: the sparse colour palette, the use of the thick knife strokes, the position of the heads on the canvas, the large close-ups and the fact that he calls them Vintage Portraits. Peter Engels’ style inspires many artists around the world.

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’. No sensationalism. No pseudo-philosophy explanation needed. This art speaks for itself. This is pure quality work with a rich composition and a talented, swift technique. Keywords like ‘high quality’ and ‘highly virtuous’ come to mind. See video of the portrait of thiller author Bob Mendes.

Quote by the Artist about the flash in an infinite universe.

PETER ENGELS: ‘The most beautiful thing about painting Vintage Portraits is the capturing of an emotion. The perpetuation of that significant though brief moment, merely a flash in the infinite universe, I find that quite fascinating. My paintings make people immortal. People who make a difference: famous, infamous, loved, hated, known or unknown. The life stories are all unique with a deep meaning and a charged atmosphere. I like to combine this with a specific and contemporary style, a strong technique and a sepia colorite so that my work is recognizable at first glance.’

Vintage sculptures

Some of the large Vintage Sculptures by Peter Engels are based on his paintings. For the 50 year anniversary of James Bond Peter Engels created the Vintage Sculpture of Sean Connery called ‘Bond #1’. To celebrate his love for the South of France he gave life to the Brigitte Bardot sculpture called ‘Saint-Tropez’. Peter Engels also makes Vintage Sculptures on demand, signed by the artist and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

These sculptures are made of rusty, industrial looking, durable Corten steel that is composed of iron, copper, phosphorus, silicon, nickel and chromium. One sculpture approximately weighs  3.000 kg or 6.600 lbs. The concrete base of the structure can be invisibly buried under ground. Choose the right, light enough and neutral background to place these see through sculptures. At night well lit Vintage Sculptures are fairylike and festive.

Peter Engels plans to make a whole series of these impressive and exclusive Vintage Sculptures. They are the ideal and totally maintenance free art that lends an artistic and sophisticated touch to parks, gardens and squares. These Vintage Sculptures can be transported, delivered and positioned any where in the world.