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Bertha Schiltz


° 03.10.1901 Antwerpen - † 06.01.1990 Antwerpen
  - art painter
  - daughter of Jeanne Mortelmans and Emiel Schiltz
  - niece of the brothers Lodewijk, Frans and Antoon Mortelmans


... sound the sober colours and discrete tones of BERTHA SCHILTZ (°1901) like chamber music. Born in Antwerp, she could hardly escape the charm of the Scheldt. From her youth she came to Bornem, and she has grown up with Klein-Brabant. She can repeat Emile Verhaeren, the passionate singer of the Scheldt: ‘Escaut d'été, Escaut d'hiver, Escaut d'automne, tout mon être changeant se reconnaît en toi!’ In her mostly realistic work, which can be situated somewhat in the impressionist tradition, Bertha Schiltz depicts experienced nature through her own vision. A sense of structure characterizes her work, but that feeling for summary never makes it 'poor': there is indeed nothing too much on it. From a dark palette she evolved to lighter shades and more flexible forms. In her detached work Bertha Schiltz in no way lets the heaviness of matter feel. The plastic poetry of it passes on to the viewer. Moreover, there is no need to mourn disturbing colours anywhere. Bertha Schiltz takes beauty out of the landscape on the Scheldt. Often tender, occasionally also turbulent - like the water. Atmospheric and structural qualities are fully discovered in her pastel paintings, which, incidentally, form a high point in her oeuvre. She often uses soft colours, sometimes also bright, joyful colours. Always, however, the right colour bends, the velvety ranges. Sense of space covers the works of this artist connected to the Scheldeland.
source : Vlaanderen. Jaargang 34 (1985) - author : René Turkry
website :


Catalog 1982

Title of Catalog : Bertha Schiltz - pastels - oil paintings - drawings
from 19 november until 12 december 1982
Editor : Antwerpen Galerij Brabo, Mercator n.v. 1982
Preface :
Bertha Schiltz was born in Antwerp on 3 October 1901. At a very early age, her talent for drawing and painting became apparent, and when she turned twelve years old, she received drawing lessons at home.
In 1918 she went to a private workshop and from 1921 to 1926 she took lessons at the Royal Academy of Antwerp.
In 1924 she became here laureate for drawing after an antique statue. Nevertheless, the artist did not yet consider her education as fully completed and so in 1926 she went to the Higher Institute of Fine Arts, where she studied under the direction of Professor Richard Baseleer and Professor de Bruycker (etching).
At the age of 32 she decides to work as an independant worker. She then participated in a number of group exhibitions and in the four-yearly exhibitions of 1934 and 1948. She also provides work for a number of personal exhibitions, a.o. in 1937 in Antwerp, in 1948 in Temse and again in 1956 in Antwerp (Gallery Breckpot). Bertha Schiltz also remained faithful to her art in her daily life. She was in fact a drawing teacher at the Sint-Lutgardis Institute in Antwerp from 1943 to 1954 and in Hoegaarden in the years 1953-54.
What to say about her paintings?
Anyone born in Antwerp can hardly escape the charm of the Scheldt. Sometimes soft and charming, sometimes cruel, but always grand flows this beautiful stream along the old city of Antwerp.
In oil painting, etching, watercolours and sketches Bertha Schiltz captures the eternal life of the Scheldt, sometimes tender, sometimes turbulent like the water itself. We also know from her a number of sensitive still lifes, full of warm and soft colours, really small pearls. The art critic H. Colley mentions her art in La Métropole of 28 January 1956: « Silent, austere art, in which the great value of painting according to nature emerges ».
Mija Proost


Some known works