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Charles Donker was trained in monumental art at the Koninklijke Academie voor Kunst en Vormgeving (Art school) of Den Bosch, where he produced paintings and mosaics during his studies from 1956 to 1961. As of the 1960s his focused exclusively on engraving, and from the 1970s nature became the principal subject of his work. During this period he became the principal etcher of the Utrecht surroundings.
In keeping with the tradition of Rembrandt, Seghers and other 17th century Dutch etchers, Donker is inspired by his surroundings. His landscapes, rich in shadings, are instantly recognizable because of his technical mastery and subtle use of complex traits.
During the 1990s the artist was inspired by the forests in the Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park and the landscape on the edge of the Rhine, Meuse and Waal. He drew compositions from nature, directly transposed into etchings. These are etchings made between 1990 and 2012 form the core of the exhibition at the Galerie Documents 15. The use of aquatint, 'gives his forest landscapes an unusually dramatic and sometimes almost abstract character' (Jan Piet Kok Filedt).
Donker's legendary technique and exceptionally refined execution ranges his work among the best available today from the Netherlands, in the field of graphic art.