Michael Retter has been creating marquetry for over 50 years, first taking it up as a pastime while at sea as a young marine engineer. During the1970's and 80's Michael honed his skill levels, elevating his craft from a serious hobby into a unique art form. In 1984 he was named Marquetarian of The Year at the Marquetry Society of America’s New York Exhibition.
In the mid 1980s Michael began work on the first of several commissioned works for the (then) New Parliament House in Canberra. The first commission was for 56 monochromatic freize panels for the Cabinet ante-room. A second commission was for a ceiling marquetry in the Cabinet Room itself and a third commission saw the making of 20 panels depicting Australian flora to decorate the main entrance foyer of Parliament House. These works were completed from designs created by Adelaide artist Tony Bishop. Michael's work also appears on the Speaker's Chair in the House of Representatives and on a lectern depicting Australia's Coat of Arms.
In 1989 Michael was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his "contribution to the art program in the Australian Parliament House".
These very public commissions together with the exposure of his superb craftsmanship to potential markets, afforded Michael the opportunity to pursue marquetry as his full time profession.
He has since completed many commissioned works both in Australia and internationally. His works have also been presented by the Australian Government to overseas dignitaries from Japan, Ethiopia, Greece, Indonesia, Russia, Malaysia, Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Israel, Turkey, South Africa, Korea and China. These have included official gifts to Pope John Paul II, President George W. Bush and Australia's wedding gift to HRH Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones.
In addition to commissioned work, Michael also produces marquetry panels in a number of standard sizes depicting Australian flora and are sold through a number of galleries in Australia.