Karel Appel


The greatest of the Dutch Cobras was Karel Appel. Some of the Cobra painters fully embraced abstraction, but during the Cobra years Appel did not. Done in his late 20s, Appel’s Cobra paintings show us an imaginary world, with childlike figures made from bold blocks of bright colors.

Appel’s paintings of the late ‘40s and early ‘50s are like those of a child - the most inspired child artist who ever lived. They feature friendly ghosts, dragons, and other spirits, suspended in space with their oversized pets. Appel loved jazz, and he aimed to give his paintings the energy and exuberance of bebop.

There are moments in the history of art when an artist’s unique vision is perfectly complemented by an innovative technical means of expression, and the result is magical. Appel’s Cobra period is one of these wonderful moments.