In this work, Personnage from 1951, one can see quite clearly 'childhood' as an iconographic theme, as often in Appel's oeuvre. Using vibrant, unmixed colours of red, yellow, green and blue, and broad brush strokes, Karel Appel creates his friendly, innocent child-like beings and animals. As if seen through the eyes of a child, his paintings radiate uncomplicated happiness and joy. The present lot is a fine example of how Appel sought to convey a positive message of hope and optimism. The innocence of the pastoral idyll he has depicted, and the implied innocence of the style in which Appel has rendered it, acts as a foil to the modern world, a tangible line against which we measure our fall from grace.
"Sometimes my work looks very childish, or child-like, schizophrenic or stupid, you know. But that was a good thing for me. Because for me, the material is the paint itself. In the mass of paint, I find my imagination and go to paint it." (In a recorded interview with Alan Hanlon, New York 1972)
On another occasion the artist said that "Art must be violent", this is with reference to the free madness of the artist and his primitive forces: matter, paint, brushes and canvas or in this case paper. In control of these elements, Karel Appel brings vitality, spontaneity and simplicity and, above all, colour to his work.