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Charles Donker

1940 Utrecht

Charles Donker trained as a monumental artist at the Koninklijke Akademie voor Kunst en Vormgeving (Royal Academy for Art and Design) in Den Bosch from 1956 to 1961. It was only after completing his studies that the artist turned to etching, a technique he masters with great sensitivity and skill. In 2002 the Rembrandthuis Museum in Amsterdam showed a general exhibition of his printed œuvre – a fitting tribute to the work of this shy and reclusive artist (Eddy de Jongh & Peter Schatborn, Charles Donker etser, Amsterdam 2002). Although Donker’s printed work is strongly figurative, his etchings never reveal a slavish dependence on the subject or an excessive anecdotical vein. The inner balance and refinement of his compositions give his art a kind of abstract quality, which goes beyond mere observation of nature. Donker has been inspired in his work by outstanding 17th century predecessors, like Hercules Segers and Johannes Brosterhuysen, and by later virtuosos of etching such as Meryon and Bresdin, while the always original and idiosyncratic mise en page recalls the aesthetic perfection of Asian draughtsmen and woodcutters. Behind the outward appearance of a varied and endlessly abundant nature the theme of transience is ever present.