Peter Kalkhof (* December 20, 1933 in Staßfurt / D; † February 24, 2014 in London / GB)
Close your physical eye so that you first see your image with the spiritual eye. Then bring to light what you have seen in the dark, that it may have an effect on others, from the outside in.
(Caspar David Friedrich 1774* - 1840†)
Peter Kalkhof is an important pioneer, co-initiator and representative of a dominant art movement of the 1970s, also known as "Concrete Art", "Op Art", " New Geometry", "Hard Edge" or "Post-painterly Abstraction". His immense oeuvre invites us to participate in these exciting developments and to get to know and appreciate the uniqueness of his person and art.
Born in 1933 in Staßfurt-Leopoldshall, he began a carpentry apprenticeship in Seesen-Herrhausen am Harzgebirge in the post-war period in 1949. 1952-1956 he not only completes another apprenticeship and works as a cliché etcher and chemographer in Braunschweig but also begins to study painting at the "Werkkunstschule" there. In 1956 he continues his art studies at the "State Academy of Fine Arts" in Stuttgart and receives the 1st prize for portrait painting in 1959.
These early years of solid craft and artistic training characterize Peter Kalkhof and his extensive oeuvre. The executed quality of his works is deeply impressive; the almost exclusively self-made picture frames, his appropriate choice of materials as well as the diverse and highly professional techniques of his painting give him a special unique selling point. Today, many of his works, even decades after their creation, do not show their true age.
From 1960 to 1961 he was a scholarship holder at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College in London, England, and in 1962 he completed his art studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. Here he increasingly comes into contact with avant-garde art movements, which not only expand and question his classical-modern education, but also have a lasting impact on him and his further work.
In 1963 he moves to London / England and lives there until the end of his life in 2014 as a freelance artist. He marries the jewelry designer Jeanne Thé, together they have a son Peter Kalkhof jnr. 1964 - 1998 he also works as an art lecturer for painting at the "School of Art, University of Reading / UK".
In the mid-1960s Peter Kalkhof develops the basis of his artistic life's work "Farbe & Raum" ("Color & Space"). Rooted both in Nordic Romanticism - one of his favorite paintings was "Monk by the Sea" (~1810) by Caspar David Friedrich - and in the transcendental abstractions of artists such as Malevich, Kandinsky and Rothko, Peter Kalkhof's works are described by the renowned London art critic Roger Cook as follows: "Enchanting evocations of light and color speak to a world after the death of God - a world in which "abused space" regains its lost sacred originality." (1977). The "vertical line of being" and the "horizontal line of the world" are referenced in a wide variety of color compositions. The micro- and macroscopic space finds expression in partly very strict as well as in a free geometric language of forms. His works are timeless, as they address universal aspects of human existence in relation to the world and the cosmos.
Peter Kalkhof is a traveler throughout his life. These journeys are both physical and psychological in nature. They point to a search for something that ultimately cannot be found outside the individual. Numerous study excursions to ancient cultural sites around the world inform his work. His triangles and squares, for example, can also be found in the pyramids of the Mayas, Aztecs and Egyptians, the meditative circles in Far Eastern mandalas, the horizontal line as a boundary between the sky and vast landscapes, the scattering of geometric elements in the seemingly random distribution of stars and galaxies in the firmament. An apparently unstable and chaotic world is contrasted with universal principles of permanence and order. These fields of tension are powerfully conveyed in Peter Kalkhof's art.
Over the decades, Peter Kalkhof's works are not only shown in numerous international solo and group exhibitions, but are also part of many public and private collections. In the 1960s a personal contact and friendship with the gallery owner Annely Juda in London developed. To this day Peter Kalkhof is represented as an artist by the internationally active "Gallery Annely Juda Fine Arts - London". Not only in the London gallery itself, this cooperation led to various exhibitions, but his works were also exhibited at various international art fairs, such as the "Art Basel".
In 2014 Peter Kalkhof passed away in London after a serious illness. Currently, his artistic legacy is managed by the "Peter Kalkhof Foundation."
-Jens Kalkhof, 2021