Karel Appel
The Netherlands
1921

Karel Appel was born in Amsterdam where he also studied fine arts at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. In 1948, together with Corneille, Constant and Jan Nieuwenhuys, he founded Reflex an experimental group of artists named after the magazine they published. Reflex became part of the international CoBrA (Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) movement founded in Paris 8th November 1948. CoBrA became known for the spontaneous expressionistic style that characterized the paintings rendered by its members. Appel is considered one of the initiators of CoBrA, which brought international recognition to a number of its members, such as Asger Jorn, Egill Jacobsen, Corneille and Pierre Alechinsky.

Close Together
Close together
relief, acrylic on wood
45 x 63 centimeter
1976
multiple, signed and dated

During the CoBrA years, Appel painted in simple forms and primary colors. The work of the CoBrA artists was not well received. Critics and the general public thought the work to be awful and the exhibitions caused plenty of commotion. A mural commissioned to Karel Appel by the city of Amsterdam was covered with wallpaper for ten years because the City Hall officials disliked the work. This attitude has changed dramatically and CoBrA works are currently among the Netherlands' most prominent and expensive.

  

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