Inside the Art Studio of Karel Appel

A photo of Dutch artist Karel Appel in his studio


Today’s Studio Sunday artist is Karel Appel. Appel was born in Amsterdam in 1921, and started painting at the age of 14, before studying at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten. The artist was known for his avant-garde paintings and sculptures that combined vivid primary colours with strong, wild line art and abstracted figures.  


Appel’s studio here looks slightly chaotic, which seems suitable for the overall tone of his artworks. It also looks like a place of impressive artistic productivity and experimentation. The table in front of the artist seems caked over with paint, as if the tubes and jars of pigment have become stuck to the table itself, half-fossilized by years of careless -- or carefree -- painting.  The layers of dripped paint remind me of the studio space of Joyce Pensato.


On the wall behind the artist, a large mural is visible, exemplifying the kind of exuberant large scale work that the artist was known for. Though the image is in black in white it seems impossible not to picture this painting as wildly colourful. The whole space has a certain energy to it, a blend of the wildness of the objects within the space, and the slightly dour expression that Appel wears. 


Karel Appel was also noted for being a part of CoBrA, an experimental, avant garde group of artists from Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. With CoBrA, Appel and other artists produced deliberately childlike works that stirred up controversy in the Netherlands but gained notoriety in Denmark.


[image source]

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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