Rob Scholte was born in Amsterdam. From 1977 to 1982 he studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Afterwards he was among others involved in a collective of artists ‘W139’, where he made his debut together with Sandra Derks in 1982 with the ‘master piece’ Rom 87, a series of variations, painted in free style, on a book of children’s colouring pictures.
He was going to replace this style by minutely painted works which he started to exhibit in the Living Room in 1984. Scholte’s works could be seen at the Documenta in 1987 and in 1990 he was asked to do the decorating of the Dutch pavilion at the Biennale in Venice.
Originality does not exist for Rob Scholte. Reproductions are of main importance in his art. They make sure that the work of art reaches the largest possible crowd; that is why the most reproduced work of art is the most important one, he once stated. Scholte copies in a precise, realist style (as if it were a reproduction already) existing images from the media, publicity and picture books.
In 1986 he created an upheaval with a copied postcard ‘Utopia’ (Museum Boymans Van Beuningen). It was pointed out that this was a quotation from Manet’s ‘Olympia’. Scholte reacted with a painting on which the newspaper article with this criticism and picture would have been copied; a literal quotation of half a newspaper page. With ‘How to Star’, a solo exhibition in Boymans van Beuningen, paintings of 1983 to 1988, Scholte got praise as well as criticism.
Rob Scholte also acquired the commission to decorate the walls and the ceiling of Huis Ten Bosch Resort in Nagasaki in Japan; this painting measured 1200 square metres. For years he worked with a large number of assistants on the painting entitled ‘Apres nous le deluge’, about the continual recurrence of war in history. Although an attempt on his life, with a car bomb, changed Scholte’s existence drastically, he finished this masterpiece on time. The opening took place on 9 August 1995, which coincided with the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the nuclear bomb attack on Nagasaki.
After a stay on Tenerife Rob Scholte returned to the Netherlands. He now lives in Den Helder; he re-married, has two children and he is working very hard.