Taking as its starting point a remarkable group of twenty-one paintings and sculptures donated by the Karel Appel Foundation in Amsterdam, the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris is presenting an exhibition covering the artist’s entire career, from the CoBrA years to his death in 2006.
The cosmopolitan Dutch artist Karel Appel is known as one of the founding members of the CoBrA group, created in Paris in 1948 and self-dissolved in 1951. With members including Asger Jorn and Pierre Alechinsky, CoBrA set out to eclipse such contemporary academic forms as abstract art, which they saw as too rigid and rational. They proposed instead a spontaneous, experimental art that included various practices inspired by Primitivism. They were especially drawn to children’s drawings and the art of the mentally disturbed, and held fast to the international aspirations characteristic of the avant-garde.