Widely considered to be Holland's most successful contemporary painter, Ton Schulten creates prismatic landscapes in vibrant, saturated color. Openly optimistic and joyful, these paintings are stunning expressions of Schulten's own inner peace and zest for life. "My goal is to bring people joy, love and peace, and to show them harmony. My intention is for my pictures to stimulate people to think positively. I hope that they will let themselves be inspired by the colors I use, and derive new strength as a result," Schulten explains.

Ton Schulten enjoyed a successful career in advertising until 1991, when a near-fatal automobile accident left him in a coma for two weeks; during this time he experienced a world of vivid new colors that continue to inspire his artwork. After first experimenting with pure geometric abstraction, Schulten turned to painting abstracted landscapes of his native Twente, a region of the Netherlands. These paintings have developed conceptually into a more universal view of nature and our experience of life.

"These are the works of a waking dreamer, whose idealistic and timeless visions are strongly influenced by his profound bond with his native province. Schulten's images, which typically employ scenarios inspired by everyday reality, are imbued with mysticism and inner peace," writes Hartmut Rau in the cataglogue Ton Schulten: Painter of Consensusism.

Ton Schulten's first exhibition in the United States was held at the Bill Lowe Gallery in June 1997. In this same year the Ton Schulten Museum was established in Ootsmarsum, the Netherlands. He has exhibited his work worldwide, including solo exhibitions in Germany, Japan, Israel, Belgium, Italy, and Australia. In honor of his service to Ootsmarsum, his social engagement and his art, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands made him a knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau in 2000.

April 25, 1938
Born in Ootmarsum, the son of a baker, Ton grew up in a traditional middle-class family of six children.

1944-1950
Attends the primary school in Ootmarsum, likes to draw and tinker in attic.

1950-1954
Attends a school for advanced elementary education (MULO) in Oldenzaal and a vocational school for window dressing.

1954-1955
Attends the preparatory seminary in Oudenbosch where he is not allowed to draw or paint. He leaves the seminary when he realizes that he wants to do something both artistic and creative.

1955
He enters the service of Vroom & Dreesmann in Enschde as a window dresser, attending evening classes and daytime education at the Academy for Art and Industry (AKI) in Enschede.

1959
After an interruption due to conscription (1958/59), he passes the examination for graphic design and styling in 1962 cum laude. Back in Enschede with V&D he has his first exhibition with drawings and water colors in the staff canteen.

1961
Ton Schulten enters the service of a leading advertising agency De Zuil in Enschede. Here he meets Henk van Mielo, together they form an original and creative team, attracting much attention with their advertising campaigns for small and large, well-known companies.

1965
Marriage to Ank Lammerink, nursery school teacher in Reutum.

1968
Henk van Mierlo and Ton Schulten leave De Zuil to begin their own advertising agency: Createam, a success artistically but not financially.

1976
A new advertising and design studio is established, this time in Ootmarsrsum, together with wife Ank. Soon the venture is a success. He continues to paint and make collages from waste materials.

1983
Jan Okkinga becomes partner in the business which is called Schulten and Okkinga. The business expands and there are 35 employees. Ton Schulten, due to his success, cannot find the time to paint.

1989
Ton Schulten leaves S + O. A year later his wife, Ank, opens a small art gallery 'Galerie Kerkplein', situated on the Kerkplein in Ootmarsum. The gallery houses a permanent exhibition of his work, as well as traveling exhibitions by other artists. In fact, the gallery is the start of Ootmarsum's development as an art center.

1989/90
He makes abstract paintings with geometrical shapes, later predominately with floral motives, while fully enjoying his artistic freedom.

1991
During a holiday on Tenerife, Ton and Ank have a very serious accident. After a long period of rehabilitation, they resume their work.

1992/93
Ton Schulten discovers the Twente scenery as a motif and a source of inspiration. His work becomes increasingly figurative although he does not strive to copy exactly what he observes. His canvases are large and mystical, with influences of cubism, showing woods, moors, maize fields, and imaginative villages and towns. They are very popular with the public.

1993
Ank and Ton move the gallery to the Markstraat and establish an annex in the Gasthuisstraat. Thus a centre for modern art is created for the Dutch-German border area. Apart from his own work he also exhibits work from other visual artist. The museum für Kunst und Kultureschichte in Maagdenburg organizes a special exhibition of the work of Ton Schulten with the theme 'Twente, Holland with a difference', Further exhibitions were held in Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Prate (Florence) and St. Paul, Minnesota (US). Four television programs were made about Ton Schulten by Dutch and German broadcasting corporations. Exhibitions in France and in the US are in preparation. The artist himself says: "My work continues to deepen and expand."

1995
Extension of gallery on the Gasthuisstraat.

1996
Exhibition in Münster (Germany) at the "Haus der Niederlande", which was recently opened by his Royal Highness crown prince Willem Alexander. Ton Schulten is the first Dutch painter to exhibit there.

1997
A special exhibition of Schulten's work is held at The Lowe Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia. At the same time, a book on his work is published and a film about his life is produced.

1999
An exhibition is organized at the invitation of the German city of Bocholt. He also exhibits in Oberhausen (Germany) and again in Atlanta. The Museum Ton Schulten, that remains Ootmarsum's very own, acquires more international fame all the time.

2000
In July/August, an exhibition is held in The Artists House in Jerusalem. That Autumn, Ton and Ank make a journey to Australia where Ton falls under the spell of the light and euphoria of colors 'down under'.

2001
Schulten is working on a book with the Twente writer and poet, Willem Wilmink. Wilmink's poems and Ton Schulten's paintings form a mutual source of inspiration, an interactive play with words and images. His exuberant zest for life is also evident from the second film on his life and work, that opens this Summer. Ton donates one of his paintings and a number of screen prints to the foundation 'Twente for Enschede'. The proceeds are for the benefit of the victims of the Enschede fireworks disaster. In the Spring, the parliamentary liberal party (VVD) of the Dutch Lower House of Parliament invites Ton to hold an exhibition in the houses of parliament in The Hague. In June, a third gallery is opened in the adjacent building in Marktstraat to expand the capacity of the existing gallery. Ton Schulten is once more invited by the Kulturhistorische Museum in Magdeburg to hold another exhibition.

2002
In March, a comprehensive documentary on Ton Schulten is broadcast on Dutch television. He is once more invited by the Kulturhistorische Museum in Magdeburg to hold another exhibition named, "Farben der anderen Welt" (Colors from another world). Preparations are made for a special exhibition in Berlin. Her majesty, master of Order of the house of Orange Nassau, awarded Ton Schulten the medal of knighthood on April, 23, 2002.

2003
Besides an exhibition in Atlanta there is also one in Santa Monica. In the spring there is an exhibition at Kunsthuis Manna in Belgium.

2004
The exhibitions in America are expanded. The works of Ton Schulten can also be seen in Beverly Hills during January and February.
The gallery on Gasthuisstraat opens a book gallery. This special gallery will be officially opened in March by Mr. G.J. Jansen, the QUeen's Commissioner from the province of Overijssel. Ton is a guest on the TV show "Old friends." An exhibition of his work is to be opened in Melbourne, Australia.
In addition, preparations are underway for the exhibition in Berlin, for which Ton has been invited to the city of Berlin. In May, an overview exhibition will be held at the "Palais am Festingsgraben, Museum der Stadt Berlin" under the title "Harmony and Peace, A journey through the pictures of Dutchman, Ton Schulten." The German art critic Hartmut Rau studies the painting style of Ton Schulten and assigns to is a new movement: Consensusism. This style is described in detail in the book "Ton Schulten, Painter of Consensusism," published in August. The minister of Defense Mr. Henk Kamp officially receives the first copy.
The sculpture garden in Gastuisstraat is officially opened in September from Dr. V. Maaswinkel.

2005
Exhibitions are held in April and May in Remscheid and Schmallenberg in Germany. Also in May; after a long developmental phase, Royal Delft produces a unique ceramic plate in collaboration with Ton Schulten. This is an absolute tribute to the painter Ton Schulten.
In July Ton Schulten is once again on television, on the national channel Nederland 1, this time in a repeat of the programme "De Wandeling" (the walk). The "Ton Schulten Foundation" is established, with the purpose of maintaining the museum and gallery for Ootmarsum. The aim of the gallery in the future will be to offer new chances to young talent.
In early September Ton and Ank Schulten celebrate their gallery's 15th anniversary. A retrospective exhibition in a museum in Vienna is meanwhile in preparation.

 

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