Charles Gassner (1915-1977) was a painter of both abstract and figurative subjects. He was born in The Netherlands and studied art in The Hague and Berlin. He arrived in South Africa in 1948 and in the early 1950s spent three years in Australia before returning to South Africa. In these early years he was mainly a painter of figures in interiors using oil as his preferred medium for exhibited work. By the end of the 1950s Gassner was living in London and he spent some time as a tutor at Camberwell. By this time his 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 himself has grown recently and one of his paintings realised in excess of £8000 at a recent auction in South Africa.