Walter Elst is the oldest of 3 children born in Antwerp on March 13, 1955. At the age of 13 he knows for sure: “I am a painter”. Determined, he contacts the painter Leon Lommaert, who lives in Schilde. Walter Elst remained his loyal student of landscape and portrait painting for 10 years until his death in 1978. In that period, they cross the Belgian Kempen, packed with sketch and painting stuff, to study and capture the beauty of untouched nature in wonder and admiration.
Afterwards he is apprenticed to still life painter Raymond Van Hoeck in Antwerp and undergoes influences from Petrus Valckx and Willem Dolphyn. The latter in particular will leave a lasting mark on his work.
In 1978 he married An Van de Sompel who gave him 3 children: Stijn (1979), Sarah (1987) and Steven (1988).
Despite his artistic ambition, Walter Elst graduated from the Free University of Brussels in 1982 as a Doctor of Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics. It is his wife An who convinces and motivates him to follow his vocation and choose to be an artist. In 1984 he enrolled as an independent artist.
1984: First solo exhibition at the invitation of the Davidsfonds in Ekeren (Belgium).
1990-1997: Various exhibitions in the Hof De Bist in Ekeren.
1996: first of the series of annual exhibitions in Gallery Utrecht in the Netherlands.
1998: participation in the Finance Building exhibition at the invitation of the City of Antwerp, Belgium.
2001: 1st Biography: “Nature is beautiful enough for me” i.c.w. Gallery Utrecht.
2002: participation in the exhibition Museum Jan van der Togt in Amstelveen, the Netherlands.
2007: Overview exhibition in “DeSynagoge” in Kampen at the invitation of the Municipality of Kampen, the Netherlands.
2009: Overview exhibition in “Slot Zeist” at the invitation of the Municipality of Zeist, the Netherlands.
2010: 2nd Biography: “The Master of the Still Life” i.c.w. Gallery Utrecht.