By: Meryle Beveridge February 21, 1976
Published by The Washington Post
Charles Klabunde is a curious and intriguing artist who has invented a fantastic world from the experiences of his life. He has been an architectural consultant so he builds improbable cities like medieval dream worlds, dizzying bird's-eye perspective that model-makers love.
He has lectured on Hieronymus Bosch and his work bears more than a slight resemblance to that powerful master of unnameable fears.
At the Franz Bader Gallery, 2124 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, where Klabunde is having a one-man show (through March 6), one sees the resulting synthesis of these influences: Color etchings which teem with clowns, aerial acrobats, demons, women on trapezes and depraved animals. There are even Seven Deadly Sins, looking like fin de siecle Frankensteins.
The mood is, in some aspects, very Aubrey Beardsley. But while Beardsley's mannered world is etched in acidly sharp lines, Klabunde's is somehow blurred. His details emerge through a tantalizing mist, and his palette is romantically muted.
Klabunde is often shown with Peter Milton and the comparison is rewarding, if only to emphasize their transparent differences. Milton is all gentleness and wistful nostalgia. Klabunde's depraved and lascivious demons are symbols of eternal damnation and those guilts which have always haunted the religious imagination.