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Charles J. Quilter II

PKCharlesFirst of all, you should know that I am no expert on fine art. For most of my life, I was a flyer. More recently, I’ve become a historian who is interested in how certain kinds of technology have impacted humans. In 1970 I met Peter Klitsch through an unusual set of circumstances. As it happened, that year was not a good one for pilots. I had finished six years as a military fighter pilot, but there were no flying positions available in civilian aviation. I took a temporary, non-flying job in Japan, and then I was out of work again. This placed me in a curiously liberating situation, and so I decided to see something of the world. The Soviet Union and Central Europe were places that were mysterious to me and therefore might be interesting. After an inordinate amount of effort arranging travel and visas, I was cleared for a month of travel across the USSR beginning with a two-day voyage to Siberia. The night before I embarked, friends invited me to go with them to an art show at Aoki’s Gallery in Tokyo. Apparently, there was some Austrian artist who was creating a stir in the Japanese art world. Although it would be out of my element, I did not wish to be rude and so went along. The place was crowded, but I was able to see most of the paintings. Many were in miniature. All were executed with extremely fine brush strokes that depicted rather weird scenes like ships flying through the air intermingled with all sorts of human and mythic figures. There were knights and nudes. (It was immediately clear to me that the artist enjoyed painting the female form.) One recurring figure in the paintings was a baroque dandy who seemed to be an amused observer of the scene. The handouts referred to him as the Harmonischer Graf. A harmonious count? What could that mean? My German was then non-existent as was my knowledge of the Viennese school of Fantastischer Realismus. But whatever it was, the Japanese were obviously fascinated with it.

The next day I was on board the MV Khabarovsk bound for Nakhodka. The Cold War was in full effect, and Soviet and East Bloc citizens were discouraged from talking to Westerners like me. That made for a boring trip until I met a tall Austrian in the ship’s library. We started talking about cars, and in passing, he mentioned that he had won his class in the last running of Italy’s grand (and often deadly) road race, the Mille Miglia. Moreover, he did it while driving a hotted-up Russian Moskvitch sedan. I thought: Well now, here’s an interesting guy!

He introduced himself as Peter Klitsch, and over the next few days, he told me his story: Father had been a famous stage actor who died in 1941; Mother pulled him out of school at age eleven before he got to shoot a Panzerfaust bazooka at the Red Army advancing into Vienna. And then there was Peter himself: a willful boy; a black market operator in the early days of the Allied occupation who knew how to talk himself out of trouble; and lastly and quite frankly, an all-round bad pupil. That is, until he found his passion in painting and honed it in Vienna’s venerable Academy of Art. At this point, I realized that Peter was the artist at Aoki’s who had created those paintings of fantastic realism. His spirit of dreaming and sense of adventure coalesced into his art.

Peter invited me to stay with him at his place in the country at Raan in Lower Austria’s Wooded Quarter, the Waldviertel. Eventually I got there after a wild nighttime drive in a snow storm. The house was filled with models doing a fashion shoot. That set the tone for the ensuing months during which we carried on in a generally irresponsible manner, particularly in activities that involved fast driving, wine, and females, not necessarily in that order.

Despite becoming semi-domesticated by our future wives later on, we’ve been fast friends now for almost four decades We have shared many adventures together. Perhaps the most dubious of these involved my introducing Peter to flying in California. He took to it naturally and then proceeded to practically bankrupt himself in the pursuit of flight. This culminated in the First Round the World Air Race of 1992. By now I was a captain for a big airline, and so it was logical that I serve as the Austrian team’s unofficial coach. Peter’s team finished second overall and set a single-engine global speed record.

Today, Peter prefers pitting himself against the elements in his small sailboat, the Aloha. Even though we both are older now, I don’t think we really have ever grown up. We still know how to play and have fun. After all, as Peter says, “Man wird alt nur im Kopf” (You only become old in your head). And our heads are not there yet. There are still plenty of adventures waiting for us!

Charles J. Quilter II

Hubert Meisl

PKMeislAls Bürgermeister der Stadtgemeinde Langenlois und als Geschäftsleiter unserer Raiffeisenbank ist es mir eine große Freude, diesem Buch einige Grußworte voranzustellen. Umso mehr, da mich mit Peter Klitsch eine langjährige persönliche Freundschaft verbindet, durch das gemeinsame Hobby, den Motorflug, das Interesse an der Kunst und lange angeregte Gespräche bei einem guten Gläschen Wein. Peter Klitsch lebt und arbeitet seit vielen Jahren im Kamptal, so ist es nur konsequent, dass die große Ausstellung zu seinem 75. Geburtstag in Langenlois stattfindet. Seit langem besteht ein enger Kontakt zur Raiffeisenbank Langenlois; als Künstler hat er selbst schon hier ausgestellt und er ist gern gesehener Besucher unserer zahlreichen Vernissagen.

Es ist uns immer ein Anliegen, unser Haus oder unsere Bank durch Ausstellungen bedeutender Künstler zu einem Ort der Begegnung mit der Kunst zu machen und so vielen Menschen die Möglichkeit zu kulturellem Erlebnis zu geben. Ich wünsche den Besuchern der Ausstellung viel Freude beim Betrachten der wunderbaren Bilder und dem Künstler Peter Klitsch weiterhin viel Erfolg und Schaffenskraft.

Hubert Meisl

Erwin Pröll

PKProellDas Land Niederösterreich ist reich an Kunst und Kultur. Musik, Theater und Ausstellungen finden in allen Regionen unseres Landes ihren Platz. Wesentliche Impulsgeber einer modernen und vielfältigen Kulturlandschaft sind die heimischen Künstlerinnen und Künstler. Sie sind die Träger zwischen dem Heute und Morgen und schaffen somit bleibende Werte für zukünftige Generationen.

Eine wesentliche Aufgabe der Kulturpolitik eines Landes ist es, die Kulturschaffenden bestmöglich zu unterstützen und die Rahmenbedingungen für eine blühende Kunst- und Kulturszene zu schaffen. Denn wo Kunst gesät wird, wird man Innovation und Kreativität ernten. Zwei Kriterien, die sowohl für die gesellschaftliche Entwicklung als auch für den wirtschaftlichen Fortschritt eines Landes von fundamentaler Bedeutung sind.

#Niederösterreich ist einerseits stolz auf seine Tradition und andererseits offen für Neues. Wie auch der Globetrotter und Niederösterreicher Peter Klitsch, der, wie er selbst sagt, „gerne unterwegs ist und sein Zuhause schätzt“. Als Landeshauptmann gratuliere ich ihm herzlich zu seinem 75. Geburtstag und freue mich, dass aus diesem Anlass dieser wunderschöne und aufschlussreiche Bildband über sein Schaffen in den letzten vier Jahrzehnten entstanden ist. In diesem Sinne: Alles Gute, Dank und Anerkennung für die wertvolle künstlerische Arbeit und noch viele inspirierende Momente für das weitere Schaffen!

Dr. Erwin Prölll, Landeshauptmann