Desert Dancers, Karel Appel Retrospective Exhibition at Musee d'art modern | Exhibitions in Paris | Urban Mishmash
Desert Dancers, 1954. Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris © Karel Appel Foundation / ADAGP, Paris 2017.

A newly opened exhibition at Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris (The Museum of Modern Art, Paris) is dedicated to the work of Dutch artist Karel Appel (1921-2006). Titled Karel Appel: Art as Celebration! (Karel Appel: L’art est un fête), this comprehensive retrospective will be presented at the musuem from February 24, 2017 to August 20, 2017. The exhibition comes thanks to a donation of twenty-one paintings and sculptures by the Karel Appel Foundation and further features a wide array of Appel’s works that bear witness to nearly sixty years of incessant creativity and artistic development.

Karel Appel and CoBrA

Karel Appel is considered as among the most significant Dutch artists of the second half of the 20th century. This is largely due to him being the co-founder of avant-garde group CoBrA in Paris in 1948. The group rejected the formalistic restraints on creativity and focused on the natural talent and creativity inherent in every person, drawing inspiration from art of children and mentally ill, folk art and Art Brut. Although the movement was short-lived (the group dissolved in 1951, a little more than two years after its formation), the group’s underlying principles influenced much of Karel Appel’s early work.

The early works selected for the exhibition stand out for childlike scribbles, spontaneous bold strokes in predominantly primary colours, as well as their highly imaginative subjects and titles (such as The Crying Crocodile Tries to Catch the Sun (1958) or Hip, Hip, Hoorah (1949) on view at the exhibition). Another highlight is his seminal The Psychopathological Notebook, where he made free-form drawings on the pages of a catalogue for the International Exhibition on Psychopathological Art (1950) for the mentally-ill held at the Saint-Anne Hospital in Paris. The exhibition, which Appel visited on multiple occasions, had a lasting influence on his works.

Beyond CoBrA: Between figuration and abstraction


Musée d'art moderne

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Karel Appel: Art as Celebration! at Museum of Modern Art, Paris
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