Karel Appel and his small sized paintings

Karel Appel and his small sized paintings

Karel Appel and his small sized paintings

Karel Appel wished to develop as a painter during the war, but the suffocating rules of the established ‘Kulturkammer’ by the Germans made that the Dutch cultural life virtually stood still. After the liberation Karel Appel absorbed the latest developments in international painting as quickly as possible. Karel Appel discovered the painters of the Ecole de Paris. Painters such as Picasso and Matisse appealed to Karel Appel, the expressive work of the German Expressionists and Van Gogh as well.

The young Karel Appel absorbed all the impressions rapidly. The work of children, the mentally ill and primitives proved to be a major source of inspiration for Karel Appel. Fantasy figures and creatures appeared in the paintings of Karel Appel, as an expression of childlike experience of reality. Together with painters like Corneille and Constant, Karel Appel founded the Dutch experimental group, which would later merge into COBRA.

Karel Appel made this attractive small sized painting in 1966 or 1967. A head is observable, but it is unclear if it is a human, animal or fantasy being. The paint is thick and lose, allowing matter and paint to play with one another. The dynamics in this painting by Karel Appel are increased due to the rapid variation of red, yellow, blue, green and purple colors.

This is one of the paintings by Karel Apppel which was exhibited at the exhibition ‘Appel in Mini’ at gallery Nova Spectra in december 1967, according to a label on the back of the painting. For this exhibition 50 paintings of Karel Appel from the format 24 x 19 cm were selected. For Karel Appel such a dimension was quite a challenge. Karel Appel said about it: ‘ the difficulty of a small canvas is to make a complete piece and not a detail of a large painting’.