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Appel, Karel
born: 15. 4. 1921 Amsterdam

died: 3. 5. 2005 Zürich

From 194o to1943, Karel Appel studied at the Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten, or Royal Academy of Art, in Amsterdam. Together with Pierre Alechinsky and Corneille, he was a co-founder of Cobra (1948-195o), a group of Danish, Belgian, and Dutch artists who were inspired by the Art Brut of jean Dubuffet. Like DubufFet, they employed banal subject matter, subconscious imagery, and a purposely naive, grotesque figuration. The group also adopted elements from folk and primitive art, and despite their Abstract Expressionist tendency, they never ruled out the validity of objective depiction. In brief, the Cobra artists attempted to combine the rational with the irrational, abstraction and figuration in their work. Among them, Appel was perhaps the most persistent in his search for a pure painting, employing an impulsive, gestural approach in which the workings ofthe subconscious imagination could flow spontaneously into the process of painterly improvisation.
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