Pachter, Charles

views updated


PACHTER, CHARLES (1942–), Canadian printmaker, painter, illustrator. Charles Pachter was born and raised in Toronto. He studied art history at the University of Toronto (1960–64), and printmaking at the Ontario College of Art. In 1962–63 he studied at the Sorbonne and at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. He held his first solo exhibition at the Pollock Gallery in Toronto in 1964. Focusing on printmaking, he completed his M.F.A. at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 1966.

While still a graduate student, Pachter collaborated with Canadian writer Margaret Atwood to create five limited edition handmade books of her poems. Lifelong friends, he and Atwood collaborated again on their master work, The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1980). Pachter's early lithographs and silkscreens, which focused on family, identity, and interpersonal relationships, also include a series of powerful expressionistic self-portraits. Fascinated by the relationship of art to national identity – the Canadian flag has remained a continuing theme – Pachter's art has often centered on popular Canadian images, including the Mounties, hockey players, and the moose. In the 1970s, his work incorporated images of Queen Elizabeth ii and the moose, leading viewers to question the continuing relevance of the monarchy in a post-colonial Canada. Portraits of prominent Canadians have served as subjects for his art. His mural, Hockey Knights in Canada, highlights a Toronto subway station and his stylized life-size sculpture of a moose stands on the University of Toronto campus. An entrepreneur by nature, Pachter played a leadership role in the development of artists' districts in Toronto in the 1970s and 1980s. Pachter's work is represented in public and private collections in Canada and internationally, including the National Library of Canada, Le musée d'art contemporain, Montreal, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and the Centre d'Art Présence Van Gogh, Saint Rémy de Provence, France. In 2000, Pachter was made a member of the Order of Canada; in 2002, France named him a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.


Welsh-Ovcharov, with introduction by M. Atwood, Charles Pachter (1992).

[Joyce Zemans (2nd ed.)]