Caroline Dukes

About the Artist

Caroline Dukes was born in Ujpest, Hungary and her seventy-two years were filled with many experiences that built her character and shaped a compassionate and strong individual and artist. She died in 2003, but for over three decades her art was exhibited across Canada, the United States, Israel and Hungary. Her work is also included in many important collections around the world.

At age four, Duke’s father disappeared during the Nazi occupation of Hungary, and she and her mother moved to Budapest to be near family. Dukes’ subsequent upbringing was typical until she was twelve, when she was required to leave school because of Nazi propaganda towards people of Jewish heritage.

In 1944, the Nazis occupied Hungary and Dukes’ step-father was sent to work in a labour camp; Dukes and her mother went into hiding. They were eventually found and taken to a ghetto where they barely survived with little to eat or drink. It is reported that in 1945, as Hungary was being liberated, they escaped the burning of the ghetto by only minutes.

Following this life-changing experience things improved and Dukes was able to complete high school. But in 1948, Stalin and his Soviet regime took power in Hungary and once again conditions deteriorated. Dukes’ life, however, flourished within these difficult times. By 1954 she had married, spent a year studying  sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (artlex.com)  at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, and had given birth to two sons. In 1956-57 the Hungarian Revolution against Soviet rule allowed Dukes’ family the chance to escape the deplorable conditions in their native country. They emigrated to Toronto, Canada, and their third son was born there. In 1967, they moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived there for over thirty-five years.

From 1968 -1972 Dukes studied Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. She set aside her previous interest in  sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (artlex.com)  as she pursued her passion for  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  under the direction of her professor, the painter, Ivan Eyre. Over the years her paintings grew in size until they became so large that in her final  monumentalIn art criticism, any work of art of grandeur and simplicity, regardless of its size, although it often connotes great size. (Artlex.com)   paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  she had to climb a ladder and view the work through the small end of her binoculars in order to take the whole image in at once. In an article about her work she said, “I love to step into my painting.” (Whiteway, 1985)

Caroline Dukes died in 2003.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning