Austrian artist and sculptor Hilmar Udo Fister Gottesthal studied at the University of Vienna and the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, graduating with the two highest art awards. His work is now in several museums in Vienna, Austria, the Albertina Graphic Arts Collection, the Belevedere Austrian National Collection, City Council of Vienna and the Museum for Applied Arts as well as museums in Turkey, Greece, England and Peter Stuyvesant Foundation, Amsterdam.
He partially restored the Neo-Gothic Votive Church in Vienna before his interest in Byzantine art took him to Greece and Turkey where he spent 30 years painting and sculpting as well as capturing the ancient ruins, myths, and religious icons.
He arrived in Istanbul in 1966 having received an Austrian-Turkish Cultural Exchange Grant. His earliest One Man Shows were exhibitions at the Istanbul City Gallery, the State Museum for Painting and Sculpture, the American Robert College and American Cultural Institute. It was at that time that Nancy Hanks, later Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts discovered and invited Gottesthal in 1968 to his first American showing in Rockefeller Center, New York.
In 1972 he moved to Greece following an exhibition in Athens. It was here that he first developed his own Sepia made from squid and produced Black and White drawings which drew international attention. Meanwhile he lived in the fishing village of Stomion and later the mountain village of Karitsa. In 1978 he was an Artist in Residence for Berkeley School For The Arts for four months painting archaeological sites around Oaxaca, Mexico and in the provinces of Tabasco, Chiapas, and Yucatan. The resulting works were shown at the Governor's Palace in Oaxaca.
Back in Greece Gottesthal continued to develop his own style, painting with oil and watercolors works which often contained spiritual elements using his complex pointillist and sometimes mosaic-like style. Among many unusual artistic activities he painted murals in the Bell Tower Chapel of a Greek Orthodox Church in Karitsa near Mount Olympus and restored two Byzantine chapels working with American art students in a summer internship program on Mount Kissavos. So what started as a visit became 14 very fertile years of intensive work and living.
In 1986 he moved back to Turkey where he was asked to record the nautical archaeological recovery and finds of the 11th century Byzantine shipwreck at Serce Harbor. These works are on permanent display along with the various artifacts at the Bodrum Nautical Archaeological Museum. The artist then conceived and executed an enormous Plane Tree sculpture measuring 22' x 12' x 8' that was donated to the Hasanbaba Forestry Recreational Park, "To The Children of the World" to be used as a hands on climbing sculpture. During those same years he had exhibitions in London, Paris, and returned to the United States for exhibitions in Winnetka on the North Shore and at the Gruen Gallery in Chicago. He took these opportunities to tour the U.S. and did some watercolor paintings of the American Southwest.
In 1993 before leaving Europe to make his home in the USA he celebrated a 25 years retrospect in Ankara at the Turkish National Museum for Anatolian Civilizations and was awarded a commemorative plaque for his cultural contribution to Turkey. In 1995 he started a Fine Arts Program with the International Summer Music Courses in St. Paul, Austria. In 1998 he accepted a special commission for another new artistic challenge, 26 Stained Glass windows for Priestfield Pastoral Center in West Virginia. The major component of the project was the production of 15 Stations of the Cross along with two large circular windows and a 6' x 6' map of West Virginia in Stained Glass for the lobby. Since completing this project he has issued his first U.S. print, Celebrating the Arrival of the New Millennium, had an exhibition of his latest works in St. Paul, Austria, and recently at Frostburg State University. Gottesthal now resides in the Appalachian mountains of Western Maryland.
MUSEUMS WITH PERMANENT COLLECTION OF SCULPTURE OR PAINTINGS(S): ,