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Crushed Head Karel Appel

Artist

Karel Appel Amsterdam 1921 – Zurich, 2006

Date 1962
Object type print
Medium, technique colour lithograph
Dimensions

51 x 50 cm

Inventory number MO.91.53
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is not on display

In 1948, Appel was the founder and one of the most energetic members of the artists’ group called Cobra. In 1950, he moved to Paris where he soon earned international fame with the help of the art critic Michel Tapié. He was particularly drawn to the crude expressiveness of primitive art and children’s drawings. His pictures are predominated by a weird imagination, his figures reminding of human masks or animals apparently overcome by horror. From the latter half of the ’50s, his theme is increasingly the human figure, the face with vortical eyes. His passionate, typically abstract expressionist painting style produces a restless mass of paint from colour and line. The emotional intensity of the vigorous, savage colours, the paint surface often squeezed on to the canvas from the tube gains priority over the theme.
In 1962, Appel made a series of eight lithographs entitled Paysage humain (Human Landscape). The sheets conveying the human expression of humiliation, terrification by brutality include Crushed Head. Instead of the rough material mass of the texture, his graphic works are predominated by the expressive tools of pure form and colour. In the colour scheme reduced by the technique black features saliently, but the excited patches and lines hurled onto the canvas with vehement gestures – graphic signs recording the powerful physical activity exerted in creation – are preponderant.

Ferenc Tóth

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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