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Karel Appel

Woman in the Street


Karel Appel
Amsterdam 1921 – Zurich 2006


Woman in the Street




Oil on canvas


118.9 x 79.4 cm


Gift of the Louise and Bernard Lamarre family, inv. 2014.174


Western Art

Woman in the Street is emblematic of the work Karel Appel produced as part of the avant-garde group of artists known as COBRA, a name derived from the cities in which its founders lived: Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. Founded in 1948, COBRA included some of the most important European artists of the twentieth century. Collectively, they sought to create a universal aesthetic language unfettered by social or artistic conventions. Appel, who counted among COBRA’s founding members, described his process as follows: “I set my frame of mind in a childlike feeling or toy feeling . . . I believe that through the coming Atomic Age there will be more time for people to express themselves and to express their own desires as a play element in life.” Appel was undaunted by criticism of his approach. As he explained, “People say very often when they see paintings of mine: ‘Look, man, my little girl of three years can do the same thing.’ And I say, ‘Yes, that’s true, but the only thing is, I do and she doesn’t.’”

© Karel Appel Foundation / SOCAN (2023)

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