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Currently shown
Karel Appel

Woman in the Street

Artist

Karel Appel
Amsterdam 1921 – Zurich 2006

Title

Woman in the Street

Date

1950

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

118.9 x 79.4 cm

Credits

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

Collection

Western Art

With its vibrant colours and primitive forms Woman in the Street is emblematic of the work 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, and in doing so looked to the naive vision of children, primitive artists and the insane for inspiration. 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 (2020)

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