CoBrA stood for a spontaneous, happy, unskilled approach of reality, it was colourful and wild, irrational, unconventional and therefore opposed against against academism. Although the movement officilally only lasted for three years until 1951 Appel and most of the other members continued painting by this philosophy in an abstract expressionist way.
Our cat dates from 1981. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Appel painted several of these marvelleously expressive cats; in 1978 he also published a series of 17 colour lithographs with cats: house cat, devil cat, walking cat, sunshine cat, etc.
“My paint tube is like a rocket which describes its own space. I try to make the impossible possible. What is happening I cannot forsee; it is a surprise. Painting, like passion, is an emotion full of truth and rings a living sound–like the roar coming from the lion’s breast.” - Karel Appel
CoBrA was a European avant-garde movement that lasted for a short period between 1948 and 1951. After that period all members went their own way. The writer of its manifesto, the Belgian painter and poet Christian Dotremont, also created its name after the first letters of the members’ cities of residence: Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. CoBrA was actually founded in a café in Paris.
CoBrA was a spontaneous, happy form of free, semi-abstract painting, with distorted figures inspired by the raw energy of Primitive and of folkloric art and also by the imagination of children and of mentally disordered people. Naive figures were depicted with violent, free brush strokes in brilliant colours. Its members wanted a revival of Expressionism and a unity of expression and form through experiments; they stood therefore against Surrealism and its sole, intelectual interest in the unconscious.
In all the impressive shape variants created mostly after 1951 by former CoBrA artists there runs but a thin line between homouristic and terrific variants of bodies of humans and animals.
About Karel Appel
Dutch painter, sculptor and poet
Amsterdam 1921 – 2006 Zurich
Karel Appel is one of the Netherlands’ most celebrated 20th century artists, the utter artistic opposite of his compatriot Piet Mondriaan.
In the years following his studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam, he became a founding member of CoBrA. Its art got severly criticised in Holland, but was well accepted in Denmark, Belgium and France. Appel’s breakthrough came in 1953 when exhibiting in Brazil at the Sao Paolo Art Biennial.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is an exquisite example of Appel’s spontaneous art: raw, naive, captivating and expressive.