In the last few years of his life, the Frisian marine painter Peter Sterkenburg had been so successful that his paintings were sold even before they were completed.
On a scrap of paper stuck to the door of a cabinet, he had jotted down all the assignments which, unfortunately, would never be realised. But the paintings he did finish are spread all over the world and they are a source of pleasure for the fortunate owners. The Holland America Line, Smit International, John Swire & Sons (HK), Malaysian property magnate Dato’ Suleiman Manan and the Maritime Heritage Foundation, to name a few, all possess one or more ‘Sterkenburgs’, as do some famous people, such as Donald Trump.
Unquestionably, the artist is one of the foremost Dutch marine painters of the 20th Century. Especially during the last ten years of his life he enjoyed the recognition of his work but, because of his modest character, he preferred to remain in the background. He could do without publicity, since everything he painted was sold in less than no time anyway. This may explain why his work is only known to a small group of connoisseurs.
We hope that this web-site will contribute to the appreciation of his fine paintings and that, in future, his work will get the recognition it has deserved for many years.
Sterkenburg was born in the port of Harlingen (Friesland, the Netherlands) in 1955. While still young, he encountered the sea and later remembered how he, as a toddler, had noted the coming and going of the ships in the harbour. His father was a sailor in the Dutch merchant navy. During secondary school he showed a talent for drawing, and after his tour of duty in the Dutch army he decided to turn his passion into his livelihood.