Biography Anton Schlepers
Biography Anton Schlepers
Anton was born on the night of February 12th, 1945 in Schuinesloot. While a blizzard was raging outside, a priest knocked at the door looking for shelter. For Anton's parents, who were orthodox roman catholic, it was a sign from above: the newly born was meant to be ordained with the holy family.
A difficult childhood followed. Though privileged: he was the only child in the large Schlepers-family who was allowed to have a higher education -the other children had to assist on the farm- he could not live up to the expectations. Sickly, he spent most of his time at home and never finished secondary school. A stay at the monastery of Alverna (1963-'66) was interrupted too. He simply could not come to terms with the harsh rules of the monastery.
But at Alverna a world revealed itself: that of art and culture, and additionally he learned to speak proper Dutch!
Back in Schuinesloot, he did'nt feel at home anymore in the humble environment of the farm. He lived a wayward existance which took him all over the Netherlands. In 1970 he settled in Amsterdam, where he met Henk Gerritsen in 1973.
After 1978 he regularly returned to Schuinesloot to work in the garden together with Henk. In 1981 he, Henk and several others formed a pressure-group in order to rescue an important nature area in Amsterdam, de Oeverlanden, from encroaching municipal building plans, in which they succeeded in 1985.
In 1983 he moved definitely to Schuinesloot. In the happy years that followed Anton's superb artistry, which had laid dormant, came to life. He ornamented the Priona Gardens with all kinds of peculiar sculptures, arrangements and bouquets (see "Frills") and became an excellent photographer. His photo's were published in many different magazines and books, including "The beauty of plants in pots", "Readily sown annuals" and "Foliage in scent and colour" by Elisabeth de Lestrieux, and "Dreamplants", which Henk wrote together with Piet Oudolf and in the book about the Priona Gardens: "Spelen met de natuur" (Playing with nature). Dozens of postcards portraying his arrangements were sold in millions worldwide.
The unveiling of the nameplate in the Oeverlanden: the Anton Schleperspad.
This promising career was ended abruptly in 1991, when he fell seriously ill and was diagnosed with aids. He died on the 10th of June 1993, shortly after the publishing of "Spelen met de natuur".
In June 1994 Henk unveiled in Amsterdam the nameplate of the bicycle-path, that had been newly constructed in the Oeverlanden: the Anton Schleperspad.