Born in the Netherlands, Charles Gassner (1915-1977) was a painter of both abstract and figurative subjects. Gassner arrived in South Africa in 1948 after studying art in The Hague and Berlin. In the early 1950s spent three years in Australia before returning to South Africa. In these early years Gassner was mainly a painter of figures within interiors using oil as his preferred medium. By the end of the 1950s he was living in London and spent some time as a tutor at Camberwell. By this time Gassner’s work was predominately, but not exclusively, abstract. Thereafter he returned to South Africa but a body of his work remained in the UK.
Gassner was one of a group of talented artists working in the very distinctive South African school of representational abstraction, during what has become termed as the Isolation Years. The work of South African abstract artists from this period is experiencing renewed interest and is considered to be one of the most important in South African art history. Interest in Gassner’s work is steadily growing.