Scott E. Bartner
Bartner was born in Washington and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. During his sophomore year at Rutgers College, where he was studying economics, he received his first exposure to art history through a course, frequently sketching the paintings in a notebook to remember them. Bartner then went to business school, earned a master’s degree, and took work as a financial analyst in a large bank but started to draw as a hobby. His father, then chief of the Medical Illustration Department at the National Institutes of Health, showed him the basics of drawing and form.
Bartner married a Dutch woman in 1987 and tried to find work in the Netherlands, staying in South Limburg and beginning his first portraits using pastels to fill the time. Failing to find work, he returned to Bethesda in 1988 and resumed his career in finance, this time with a real estate investment trust. During this period, he began his first copies of old master drawings, drew from models at a local college and received his first lessons in oil painting from an artist and colleague of his father, Al Loang. Bartner later took drawing and painting classes at American University and was encouraged by his teacher Ruth Stroik to continue his studies. After meeting and showing his work to the Washington artist and teacher Frank Wright, Bartner was advised to study with Danni Dawson, a prize student of Nelson Shanks. Dawson set up a rigorous schedule for him in and outside the classroom, which included making color studies, painting self-portraits and still lifes, and copying a large portrait by Sargent.
Bartner was hired by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1989 and spent his lunch breaks in the nearby National Gallery of Art, studying the old masters. In 1991, his wife was offered a position in the Netherlands and Bartner saw his dream of living abroad come true. He found employment with a pharmaceutical company and studied in the evenings with the Dutch artist Maarten Welbergen in Amsterdam, learning a traditional painting technique.
When his contract ended, Bartner decided to paint full time. In 1993, he moved to Maastricht, where he established himself as a professional portrait painter. Since then he has received numerous portrait commissions throughout Europe and the United States, including that of J. M. Saleh, the former governor general of the Netherlands Antilles.