July 25, 2018

Karel Appel, born in Amsterdam in 1921, was one of the founders of the Cobra movement. This association of Danish, Belgian and Dutch artists was founded in 1948 in response to the too theoretical art of their time. They sought more freedom and personal expression, with their artworks often showing a childish and playful character. Although this group only existed for a short time, it was already stopped in 1951, it forms an important basis for the development of his subsequent oeuvre. The playful character and bright color palette remains, but his painting style becomes wilder and more abstract. His work is sometimes also counted as abstract expressionism, but there is always a certain figurative character present in his work. The link between his style and the informal art of the 1950s and 1960s is stronger. The impasto, thick pastes of paint with which relief is created, also characterizes a certain period of his oeuvre. Especially in the 1960s we clearly notice the thick layers of paint in his paintings. During this decade he went to live in France and also got his first solo exhibition in 1968 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Subsequently, he received more international attention and his work was exhibited in various places in Europe and North America. He also had several studios in the United States and Europe. Appel continued to use the style that he developed during the Cobra period until the end of his career, with occasionally some experimental works. Eventually, he died in 2006 in Zurich and is buried in Père-Lachaise in Paris.