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
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.