Donald Charles Evans
The Amsterdam Artist
Family tree: Donald Charles Evans 1945-1977
Donald Evans, Amsterdam, 1970s
Amis et Amants,1974
Donald Evans (1945-1977) was my second cousin. He was three years younger, born in Morristown, New Jersey, in 1945. My family moved to Morristown in 1950, just before we moved to California in 1951. Later, Donald and I both became stamp collectors.
A father's frustration with his artist son's chosen career shows in this portion of a letter from Donald's father, Charles F. Evans, to my father, David Hedges Roll, Sr., dated February 27, 1975.
"....Our only child, Donald, is now 29 years old, and is still single. He is a Cornell graduate architect, but prefers to work as a free-lance artist. He has been living in Amsterdam, Holland, for the past three or four years, although he travels quite extensively both in Europe and America.
Tropides Islands, Donald Evans
"His specialty is an unusual one, he watercolor paints postage stamps of imaginary countries and sells them mostly at art exhibits to other artists and also stamp collectors. He also does work occasionally for the New York Times, drawing stamps related to certain feature articles. It is difficult for me to see much of a future for him in such a specialty for which there is such a limited market; nevertheless he earns enough to be self-sustaining and is happy in what he is doing.
"Donald will be home in another week or two to attend an opening of an exhibit of his stamps in an art gallery in New York...."
Donald Evans, Windmills, 1975
He was a brilliant architect, but Donald found no joy in the work. So he did what he enjoyed most. His work is now desired by many.
A tragic fire in the upper floor of the apartment building where he lived in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1977 caused his death.
A photograph of his room shows the simplicity of his life. A bed, table, chair, small rug, and a potted plant. He loved books, but hid most of them in the closet, or kept them at friends' homes.
Eisenhart, Willy. The World of Donald Evans. New York: Harlin Quist, 1980. First ed. 4to., 173 pp., col. illus., Bibliography. 29 cm. ISBN 0-8252-9658-7. A collection of color reproductions of the art stamps of Donald Evans and his biography are presented.
The World of Donald Evans
By common consent, the art of the drop-out generation is a mess -- and the art of Donald Evans is the antithesis of mess. Nor is it niggling. Nor is it precious. Yet I can't think of another artist who expressed more succinctly and beautifully the best aspirations of those years: the flight from war and the machine; the asceticism; the nomadic restlessness; the yearning for sensual cloud-cuckoo-lands; the retreat from public into private obsessions, from the big and noisy to the small and still.
Source: Chatwin, Bruce. What Am I Doing Here, Viking, 1989, p. 268.