Karel Appel (Amsterdam, Netherlands April 25 1921 - Zurich, Switzerland May 2 2006)


Karel Appel (Dutch, 1921 – 2006) was one the founders of the influential CoBrA group.While the movement was short-lived (1948 – 1951), the group’s working methods were a refutation to the existing art movements at the time. Instead, the CoBrA artists championed spontaneity and experimentation in the creation of works of art which would have a continued influence on Appel's art for the remainder of his career. Although Appel’s work was not immediately recognized in the Netherlands, when he moved to Paris in 1950 his work was praised by the influential critic and curator Michel Tapié, gaining him international success. It was also at this time that he saw the work Jean Dubuffet and he met the Parisian avant-garde artists Jean-Paul Riopelle and Sam Francis. Appel's paintings are known for their expressive colours and forms which alternate between abstraction and figuration. Inspired by folk and children’s art, L'Oiseau en Chasse (1961) is typical of Appel’s vocabulary of birds and beasts, using thick, expressive brushstrokes and paint directly from the tube to build up the canvas in a cacophony of line and colour.

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L'Oiseau en Chasse, 1961