• Post-War and Contemporary Art auction at Christies

    Sale 2833

    Post-War and Contemporary Art

    1 December 2009, Amsterdam

  • Lot 217

    Karel Appel (1921-2006)

    Personnage et oiseau

    Price Realised  


    Karel Appel (1921-2006)
    Personnage et oiseau
    signed and dated 'ck. appel 56' (lower right)
    oil on burlap
    131 x 76.5 cm.

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    The second half of the fifties of the last century is often referred to as Karel Appels Informal period. Appel had come to a free style, much more theatrical and expressionistic than his earlier CoBrA works and the works he made later on in the 1960s. Matter has become more important than colour, and his paint spreads all over the canvasses. He almost sculpted the paint into figures. Conciously figurative, he still resisted to total abstract art.
    "Appel presents a form of painting full of emotion, immediacy and strength, which is tied to the archetypical, the original and the human image. The rough, simplified figuration fully reflects primitive art and children's drawings. Whenever in the future more dissolved, thus more abstract images, develop, then still figuration forms a central issue in Appel's world of images" (F. Steininger, Karel Appel, Bratislava, 2005, p. 39).
    Karel Appel himself said: "I paint from the matter, because the matter appears to have as much possibilities as the mind, if not even more. It is an unpredictable energy wich can be transformed by contradictions and mingling. It is possible to make the presentation representable but also unpresentable". (Alfred Frankenstein, Karel Appel, Amsterdam 1980, p. 60)
    Personnage et oiseau expresses radiant liveliness, painters joy and an unusual vigour. Tremendously forceful and and provoking, it makes Appel one of the best painters of his generation.

    This work is registered in the Archive of the Karel Appel Foundation.

    Special Notice

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    Galerie Anne Abels, Cologne.
    Galerie Sander, Darmstadt.


    London, Institute of Contemporary Art, Karel Appel, 1957, no. 19.
    Cologne, Galerie Anne Abels, Karel Appel, August-September 1958, no. 13.