Oil on canvas Signed and dated lower right: 58 / K. Appel
Old exhibition labels on the back
H. 131 x W. 97 cm
This exceptional painting by Karel Appel is emblematic of the turn taken after CoBrA, when he was already a well-known and recognized artist.
In 1957, he discovered the Abstract Expressionism of Willem de Kooning and embarked on the path of Action
Painting. He had been researching pictorial matter and relief effects since 1953, but he suddenly broke with the rules of classical composition, going so far as to fly over a field covered with sheets of paper by helicopter to spread the paint with a broom. This was in November 1958, the year of this painting.
During this period (1957-1964), even in his studio, the painting sessions turned into happenings.
Jan Vrijman made a film about it, The Reality of Karel Appel (fig. 1): "I stand in front of a canvas and paint, I never try to make a painting, it's a scream, a child, or a tiger in a cage. I paint like a barbarian, contemporary of a barbarian time. [I don't only paint with a brush; I also use my tubes, to draw on the canvas as with a piece of chalk on a board. And with my knife, I give form and expression to the material.
I have already had the opportunity to tell you that I don't paint, I hit [...]".