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Karel Appel

Cobra, expressionist figuration

  • Untitled

Karel Appel

(Amsterdam, 1921-Zurich, 2006)

Untitled, 1968

Oil on canvas
Signed lower left appel
Dated lower left 68
162 x 129.5 cm

Provenance :
- Artist's studio, Paris
- Private collection, France

Exhibition :
Jean Messagier - Karel Appel, L.A.C. (Lieu d'Art Contemporain), Sigean, curators Piet and Layla Moget, Autumn 2001


It is an oil on canvas of imposing dimensions (162 x 129.5 cm) painted in 1968. This painting is particularly representative of the artist's pictorial language of the 1960s: a freely expressive work, rich in textures and colours, halfway between figuration and abstraction.  
Here Appel shows a couple walking with an animal. The artist captures the joyful attitudes and emotions of these characters. The man with the round head and broad smile, as well as the woman and the small animal at their feet, resemble children's drawings.
These expressionist-like figures are treated with broad, uninhibited brushstrokes and thick areas of saturated paint in a vivid chromatic range.
Advocating the virtues of experimentation and without restriction of style, Appel further deepens the CoBrA spirit by freeing himself from all academic rules. 

A strong sense of positive energy emanates from this painting.

This painting, acquired from the artist, remained in the same private French collection until it was purchased directly by our gallery. 
It was included in the Jean Messagier- Karel Appel exhibition at the LAC (Lieu d'Art Contemporain) in Sijean in 2001.

This quote from Karel Appel perfectly illustrates our painting:
"Suppos the first colour I apply to the fabric is red. Now this action determines everything that happens in the frame. Later I might put yellow, and blue; then I might remove the red with black, and the blue might become yellow, and the yellow might become purple, while the black might become white. Of course, anything can happen. But this whole fascinating process started with that first red, and if it hadn't started with the red, the whole picture would have been different. There is a certain system, there is an order in this chaos."


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