Carel Willink is best known for his portraits, landscapes and city images in a magical-realistic style. He started painting at the age of 18 when he studied architecture in Delft. From this early period only a few portraits and a few landscapes have been preserved. The style is naturalistic with expressive colors and shows the beginning of a tendency to simplify forms. This can be traced back to his admiration for the work of Paul Cézanne during this period. In 1919 Willink finally chose the painting profession and moved to Berlin, where he painted mainly geometric-abstract compositions. It was only in the nineteen thirties that he began painting the realism for which he became so famous.