News 1970-2000

Exhibition in Hardegarijp at the rijksstraatweg 75 21-04-1978

In Hardergarijp on the Rijksstraatweg opposite the church, a number of paintings by Peter Sterkenburg are exhibited in a hairdresser's shop. These paintings, which mainly consist of landscapes, are reminiscent of the works that were produced in previous centuries. They have a rather brown glow, a fall of light and objects that appear in the landscapes are also outdated. The paintings will be exhibited until the end of next month. Prices from f250 to f950 (m.t).
Hair Salon Monica
Rijksstraatweg 75 Hardegarijp Until the end of April

Kunst & Antiekrevue mei/juni 1985

By Peter Sterkenburg
In the scenic North Holland village of Schoorl, painter Peter Sterkenburg will be exhibiting at A.J. Koster Gallery at Laanweg 7-11. Peter Sterkenburg was born in the port of Harlingen in 1955, which immediately explains his relationship with the sea. He is self-taught and from a young age started painting characteristic fishermen's heads and boats during certain festivities in Harlingen. The result is that he is now very knowledgeable about everything that has to do with ships.

The skies in his paintings are exceptional and mood-defining. Whether it's a sunset or rough weather, Sterkenburg's paintings remain fascinating to look at.
He especially loves fishing boats and old sailing vessels. As a result Peter Sterkenburg is often found wandering around the harbour looking for special ships.
Much of his work has been sold to Canada, America and Germany in recent years. Reason why the A.J. Koster Galerie is very fortunate with this exhibition, which is open daily.

Wieringermeerbode May 7,1985 Ships of Sterkenburg in Koster Gallery

Schoorl - Anyone who is a lover of traditional painting, who also wants to see the sea, the ships, the wild elements and then again the immeasurable water surface, where the fine atmosphere of all maritime events is central. Anyone who wants to have this experience is welcome in the coming month in Koster Gallery at de Laanweg in Schoorl. Saturday afternoon, Mayor C. Bernard will officially open the exhibition, the unique collection of works by Peter Sterkenburg, the Frisian giant, the natural talent, barely 31 years young but without exaggeration, the discovery of our time.

Mayor opens impressive exhibition.

Sterkenburg will personally sign the catalogs. The exhibition is supplemented  (although this seems somewhat irreverent to the painter) by a large collection of nautical antiques.
Peter Sterkenburg, Harlinger by birth, has been fascinated for a very long time by everything that goes on at the water front. He spent hours at the Noorderhaven where he became mesmerized by the boats with their shipments of wood from Scandinavia or the cargo ships to England. From there the ferries to Terschelling and Vlieland depart or fishing boats return with their haul. Every city with a water front has its own artists, who become inspired by the water.

Harlingen has Peter Sterkenburg who has always been particularly interested in the wooden ships of the “brown” fleet. And that’s still the case. Not surprising at his age, by the way.

Everyone will feel at home at this exhibition. Including those visitors, and perhaps in particular those visitors with knowledge of art and admiration for Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Appel. But our own time also has many talented artists. One of them is Peter Sterkenburg. Old ships have become a part of his life. He leaves nothing, absolutely nothing to chance when he fills his canvases with his sailing world. It shows his great knowledge of everything that has to do with the sea. Within the picture frame, the eye is drawn towards the real sea, the thought of oil paint disappears when the clouds gather over a true naval battle. Critiques mention words like perfect and alive. And in fact, that’s true. Sterkenburg has rightly gained great fame abroad. His paintings "disappeared" from view towards America and many countries in Europe. A quiet evening in the harbour, during sunset, with ships at the quay. Historical buildings facing the water. Old fishing villages around the IJsselmeer and on our own North Sea coast. A whaler trapped between large icebergs and ice floes reminding us of the old Harlingen Greenland sailors. Ships, sea and clouds. They form an integral part of Peter Sterkenburg’s oeuvre and can be admired at Koster Gallery, where the promotion of this exceptional artist is considered a great honour. 

The gallery is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm. Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Closed on Mondays. You should definitely not miss this.

•    One of the many seascapes by Peter Sterkenburg, which can be seen in gallery Koster throughout the coming month.

Article in the Peninsula Magazine, autumn, 1992

Sea And Be Seen
KLM brings celebrated Dutch artist Peter Sterkenburg to Hong Kong in November for his first overseas exhibition – a rare chance to view his moody and dramatic seascapes. Click here to download.


Marine painter Peter Sterkenburg will soon exhibit in Hong Kong  “WIJD & ZIJD”  WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 1992  PAG. 7 

'If I get the atmosphere right, the canvas is already 90% successful'

ZURICH • It seems only logical that he has become a gifted 'marine painter'. From the moment he left secondary school, Peter Sterkenburg wanted to be a painter and the sea always had his great interest. His father used to be a sailor and often came home after long journeys with all sorts of exotic gifts that captured Peter's imagination. And in his later childhood in Harlingen, he spent hours gazing out to sea and watching the incoming and outgoing boats in the harbor. Sterkenburg, born in 1955, seems like an introverted man who chooses his words carefully. He says: ,,In my youth I already loved the sea and ships. Between six and ten years old we lived in Haamstede in the province of Zeeland, where my father, who had already given up seamanship at the time, had a hotel. We lived in the middle of the dunes, at a short distance from the sea. For me, it was a wonderful period in my life. You should not forget that at that time there were hardly any tourists in that area. It was still wonderfully quiet. My father also knew that, and sadly the hotel was not a great success. I recently visited the place again and noticed to my surprise that the town hall is now located in the building”. 

In his later youth, Sterkenburg went to school in Harlingen. He used the school breaks to go to the harbor. Drawing was already a hobby of his at that time. He says: “I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to become a painter, but family and friends always said 'don't do that, you can't earn any living with it'. I was advised to do a drawing teacher training. That is why I went to the Ubbo Emmius in Leeuwarden. I kept that up for about a month and a half. There was a teacher walking around with a beard and a beret, and it all looked terribly artistic, but it wasn't my idea of a job, I wanted to learn by myself. 
He started copying some paintings by Rubens in the 1970s. "To master the technique of painting with oil paint," says Sterkenburg. “However, my attention soon turned to seascapes. That appealed to me the most. Painters such as Turner, Mesdag and the American Dawson; I have a lot of respect for them”. 
His success has grown over the years. He sold his first works for 'a few tenners', but nowadays only works on commission almost all year round. Prices varying between five and ten thousand guilders are not unusual now. 
Because he works so much on commission, he has little time to hold exhibitions. In the Netherlands he hardly ever exhibits (although for the enthusiasts some of his paintings adorn the wall of the hotel Casparii in Harlingen). In November, his work will be exhibited in Hongkong. ,, That has been arranged by the general manager of KLM in Hongkong. Every year KLM organizes an exhibition of a Dutch artist in Hongkong and this time the choice fell on me. They arrange the exhibition space and the publicity, and I take care of the paintings". 
Tupperware boat
Sterkenburg makes about forty paintings each year. Most of his works are commissioned. He says: “The clients are very different. For example, it could be someone who wants to have a harbor view or a fisherman who wants his ship on the canvas. Still, I don't accept everything. If people want such a nasty Tupperware boat painted, I prefer to send them to a colleague. If I accept an assignment, I document myself as well as possible. When I paint a ship, all the details have to be right. That's why I always make sketches beforehand and use photos when available. And then I try to imagine what the ship would look like if you sailed past it in a small boat. I strive to portray the atmosphere well. If I have the atmosphere of the water, the light and the sky right, then the painting is already half finished”.

The Zurich painter, who lived in Franeker for a number of years, made a 'study trip' to the United States a few years ago. The question whether he has been to America to study the work of his example, the painter Montague Dawson, elicits a furtive smile from him. "Study trips by artists are often nothing but holidays," he says. “They are tax-deductible, and the local beer is usually studied between sketches”. 
Sterkenburg, whose main source of inspiration, the sea, almost starts in the backyard of his house on the Zuricher Zeedijk, does not mingle at all with the Dutch 'art scene'. He is particularly opposed to the many government subsidies. He says: ,,The Dutch art world leaves me cold. All those grants. Look, if you call dumping thousands of loaves of bread into the sea art, then my mouth falls open in amazement. Tomorrow someone will throw a few tons of nuclear waste into the sea under the guise of 'art' and then this may very well be accepted as such. When I first started painting, I worried about that, but nowadays, I could not care less. I take a deep breath when I read or hear something like that and just continue to do what I love most, painting”.

Magazine Watersport Aktueel 14-01-93
Maritine painter Peter Sterkenburg has been bound to the sea for years 

“If I have the correct sky, the rest will follow“.

Zurich – Whether it's a clipper from the nineteenth century or a sailing yacht: “The most difficult thing is actually the sky. If I can create the right atmosphere, the rest will follow”. These are the words of marine painter Peter Sterkenburg from the Frisian village of Zurich. His attachment to the sea dates from an early age. His father's homecomings from overseas for instance stimulated his imagination and later, when his parents had a hotel in Zeeland, he often spent his time gazing at the waves. 

Sterkenburg also had a short career as a sailor on that always intriguing sea. “I even served for a while in the Royal Dutch Navy. That was not a great success. I am almost 2 meters tall, while the ships were built on lengths of 1.70 meters, so after only half a day I already had several bumps and scratches on my head. I immediately realized that I could not carry on like this”. 

Sterkenburg continued with his love for drawing and painting. Trained himself by copying other painters and finally devoted himself to making seascapes. “I paint realistically. For example, a ship type must be recognizable. I think details are important, but only to support the atmosphere. Creating the right atmosphere, that’s what takes most of my time. Essentially, the most difficult thing is a correct representation of the sky”. Sterkenburg very often gets ideas outdoors. By making sketches, he can capture the composition of a harbor or seascape. The camera is a willing tool when it comes to the details of something like a harbor view. “Often I also make notes on the sketches about for example the colors in the sky”. He is not a landscape painter who can be found on the dike with a pallet and canvas. “You have the most beautiful sea views when the wind is blowing hard. If you then sit on the dike with a canvas of a meter square, you have to be able to run after it very fast if you want to be able to paint something”. The painter from Zurich has a slight preference for painting clippers from the mid-twentieth century. He is also interested in the old steamships that moored in Harlingen harbor around the 1930s. “I prefer to paint run-down vessels. Ships that have a life behind them, with a dent here and there or large rust spots. But I also paint modern seaworthy sailing yachts. What I hate are the little pleasure boats of today. That's really does not appeal to me". Shipowners regularly ask Sterkenburg to make a painting of their ship. “I prefer to walk around the ship to find the ideal viewing angle, the place where the ship shows its best side. For a Frisian skûtsje, for example, that is diagonally from behind. You see how the sails are positioned, how the rudder and leeboards hang. I also receive many commissions from people who give me complete freedom,” says the painter who sells a large part of his paintings to foreigners. “Yes, there is plenty to do for a painter. I even have a waiting list. A painting also says much more than a plain photo of a boat”.

With his painting “DE SAEN”, Peter Sterkenburg
lives up to his reputation as a distinguished artist.
His impression of „DE SAEN“ as it looked 150 years
ago is an extraordinary piece of art in every aspect:
interpretation as well as composition and technique.

Peter Sterkenburg was born on the 18th of December
1955 in Harlingen, where he used to roam about the
local harbour as a child. His romantic style and his
great knowledge of  ancient sailing vessels and the
sea have established his fame as a great artist, both
on national and international scale.

Peter’s work is now in such demand that he only works on commission.

“DE SAEN” in the year 1850.
The painting takes us back to days long past, when
there were as many as 500 mills in operation along
“DE SAEN”, to the times when the world was yet unpolluted and the wind was the only source of
energy available.

These windmills were the first signs of an industrial
expansion that eventually turned the Zaan-region
into an important center of commerce: the processing
and production industry for which the area is 
famous owed it existence directly to these wind-
mills. Enormous amounts of cocoa, grain, oil-bearing
seeds, timber and the like were supplied and
processed here. Many important Dutch companies
were founded here, like for instance……1)

Wind and water, vital elements for the mills along
“DE SAEN” in the past, nowadays an alternative
source of energy in the fight against pollution: times have changed.

Magazine Success april 1996 Images of the sea

Sharmini Nesaratnam visited leading maritime artist Peter Sterkenburg at his home in Zurich, Holland, to find out what’s in store for his Kuala Lumpur exhibition this month.

Click here to download.


Magazine Metro-May 19-05-1996 Kuala Lumpur

Answering the call of the wind
By Salina Kahlid

Maritime artist Peter J Sterkenburg’s fascination for the ocean started early. It comes as no surprise as the Dutchman was born in Harlingen an old fishing port in the northern part of Holland. “Ever since then, the port and the sea have become a part of my life,” the son of a sailor said in a recent interview.  A self-taught artist, Sterkenburg said his passion for maritime paintings started during his pre-schooldays. As a child, his favorite pastime was “to sit at the harbour every day to watch ships pass by” I used to spend hours at the harbour waiting for my father to return from his voyage. “and I would impatiently listen to his tales of the sea”. Sterkenburg, 41, said that he would then spend time at the harbour painting the scenes. He soon found he had a talent for sketching pictures of sailing ships. But the young Dutchman had to face reality- the job wasn’t paying well. “I was forced to seek a more secure job. So I decided to join the Dutch army. But then I realized something “I was a better artist than a soldier,” bearded Sterkenburg said. While in the army, his officers recognized his artistic abilities and soon commissioned him to undertake military and maritime paintings. After his “tour of duty” ended, he made several study trips to France and the United States where he learned more about maritime subjects. “I even met my idol Montague Dawson during my stay in the United States,” he said proudly, adding that Dawson’s work fascinated him. “It was after meeting him that I decided to fully concentrate on maritime paintings,” he added. Sterkenburg said the hardest part was to bring “my seascapes to life. I want my viewers to feel the wind, hear the surf and move with the waves,” he quipped. He said the subjects required thorough study before they were transferred to canvas. “I constantly refer to my maritime books for ideas. “they are very useful, especially when it comes to painting sceneries of the past. “Painting subjects of the past requires days of study as I need to know exactly which buildings lined the waterfront at the particular period of time” “he pointed out. But it was not until 1980 that Sterkenburg had his first solo exhibition in Holland, which needless to say, proved a hit. In 1992 he held an exhibition in Hong Kong.
Sterkenburg was in Kuala Lumpur recently for his second solo exhibition in Asia titled “Harbours of Asia and Australia: now and in the past”. To prepare for this exhibition the Dutchman made early “reconnaissance” trips to study the harbours and seascapes of Penang, Malaysia, Singapore and Sydney.
About 20 of his paintings priced between RM 11.000 and RM 19.000, were displayed at the Regent Hotel.
Among the pieces were Melaka in the 17th Century, Penang Bridge 1995, Sydney Harbour 1995 and Singapore’s Horsburgh Lighthouse 1860.

MarineNieuws, Informative magazine for the Royal Navy, November 1999

175 years KNRM
During the festivities surrounding the anniversary of the Royal Dutch Rescue Company (KNRM), the Commander (BDZ) gave a speech in the Ridderzaal at The Hague. During his speech, the BDZ (Commander of the Naval Forces) discussed the excellent cooperation between the KNRM and the Royal Dutch Navy and expressed his appreciation for the heroic actions of the staff who have been involved in various rescue operations over the years. During the reception at the Coast Guard Center in IJmuiden, the BDZ offered the board of the KNRM a painting to emphasize on the one hand the great appreciation for the KNRM and on the other hand to symbolize the excellent cooperation between the rescue company and the navy. 
The painting depicts the joint rescue operation by the KNRM and the navy during the rescue operations on 6 July 1990, when the tugboat Wotan ran into great difficulties in severe weather (force 9 and high waves) to the north of Terschelling. A lifeboat from the KNRM together with a helicopter from the Royal Navy managed to rescue all sixteen people on the ship, which was in bad shape with 50 degrees of heel.



"As if the waves were alive, the clouds moved and the wind swept the sails ...."

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