Paperworks: Karel Appel en el Pompidou

Introducción texto curatorial de Jonas Strosve:

El nombre del artista holandés, Karel Appel, está íntimamente ligado a las actividades del Grupo Cobra, cuya duración, aunque breve, dejó una marca profunda en el arte europeo en los años subsecuentes a la Segunda Guerra Mundial. En un inicio este movimiento fue fundado en Paris en el año de 1948 pero se disolvió poco después de la Exhibición Internacional de Arte Experimental en 1951.

Sus miembros originarios de Bélgica, Dinamarca y Holanda, fueron unos de los artistas más importantes de Europa en ese tiempo, pero Karel Appel, fue más que eso, pronto dejó el lenguaje de Cobra y forjó su propio estilo o estilos, evolucionando incesantemente y experimentando con formas y materiales durante su carrera que duró más de 60 años.

Le Joueur d’Harmonica 1947. Gouache sur papier 50 x 32,5 cm Photo : Tom Haartsen Ouderkerk a d Amstel Pays Bas © Karel Appel Foundation / Adagp 2015

El mundo del arte es muy caprichoso y su memoria es muy corta. Después de décadas como una figura líder en la escena del arte, Appel es ahora un ilustre desconocido, poco recordado afuera de su país natal, Holanda.

Su interés profundamente humanista y su arte Expresionista fue revivido en la década de los ochenta, justo cuando Jungen Wilden y otros Fauvistas estaban teniendo su momento de gloria, pero ahora en el 2015, una exhibición en torno a Karel Appel parece un evento extraño. La última gran exposición de Appel en Francia fue en 1987, cuando distintos aspectos de su obra fueron expuestos en Toulouse y Niza.

 

Las cosas puede que estén cambiando, una nueva generación de coleccionistas, galeristas e historiadores del arte están trayendo ojos frescos al arte de la postguerra y una mirada más a fondo a uno de los artistas más importantes de Europa de mediados del siglo 20. Aunque ésta faceta, de obras sobre papel, es la menos conocida, no es la menos importante e interesante.

Karel Appel chien-01
Animal n° 14, 195.1Gouache sur papier. 74 x 100 cm Photo : Tom Haartsen Ouderkerk a d Amstel Pays Bas © Karel Appel Foundation / Adagp 2015

Esta exhibición con alrededor de 80 obras sobre papel, es la primera vez que se exhibe, cubriendo así toda la trayectoria del artista, desde 1947 hasta el 2006, el año de su muerte; todas estas obras se pueden exhibir al público gracias a la generosa aportación de la Fundación Karel Appel, de donde provienen todas las obras.

 

La exposición en el Centro Pompidou:

Por primera vez, el Centro Pompidou de París presenta la retrospectiva del artista holandés Karel Appel, trabajos sobre papel, con una selección de 84 piezas del trabajo de este artista durante 1947 y 2006 las cuales nunca antes habían sido exhibidas.

Karel Appel se estableció en Paris en 1950 y luego dividió su tiempo entre Europa y Estados Unidos. Fue el primer artista integrante del grupo Cobra en abrir sus horizontes y establecer una carrera internacional, su lenguaje pictórico siempre se mantuvo profundamente europeo a pesar de la influencia norteamericana que también es palpable en su obra. Inspirado por el Jazz, pintó varios retratos de músicos reconocidos como Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, y Sarah Vaughan. Duarte ese mismo periodo también trabajó de la mano con varios arquitectos haciendo pruebas con vidrio, textiles y cerámica.

Karel Appel photographed by Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen
Portrait de l’artiste au Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1993 © photo : Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, Amsterdam

Después de una década de viajes sin cesar, en 1964 Karel Appel compra el castillo Château de Molesmes, cerca de Auxerre, Francia, en donde comenzó a trabajar la escultura en policromo. Después se volvió a mudar a París, alternando entre la toscana italiana.

A pesar de que nunca volvió a su país natal, Holanda siempre le ha sido fiel y sus instituciones de arte más importantes has seguido exponiendo su obra. Karel Appel murió en el 2006 en Zurich pero fue enterrado en el Cementerio del Padre Lachaise en París, la ciudad que tanto significó para él.

 

Del 21 de octubre al 11 de enero de 2016. Place Georges Pompidou, París Francia. https://www.centrepompidou.fr

 

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INTRODUCTION – CURATOR’S TEXT

The name of the Dutch artist Karel Appel is intimately linked to the activities of the Cobra group, whose lifespan, while admittedly brief, left a decisive mark on European art in the years immediately following World War II. At once international and communal, the movement was founded in Paris in November 1948 and self-dissolved after the International Exhibition of Experimental Art in Liège held in October and November 1951. Its Belgian, Danish, and Dutch members were among the most significant European artists of their time, but Karel Appel was more than that: he soon dropped the Cobra vocabulary and forged a style—or rather styles—of his own, endlessly evolving and experimenting with forms and materials throughout a career that lasted more than sixty years.

The art world is capricious and its memory very short. After decades as a leading figure on the art scene, Appel is now a relative unknown, little remembered outside the Netherlands. Interest in his deeply humanist, overtly Expressionist art revived in the eighties, when the Jungen Wilden and other neo- Fauvists were having their moment of glory, but now, in 2015, a Karel Appel exhibition is a rare event indeed: the last major presentation in France goes back to 1987, when different aspects of his work were shown in Toulouse and Nice. Things may be changing, though: a new generation of collectors, gallerists, and art historians is currently bringing a fresh eye to postwar art, and a closer look at one of the greatest European artists of the latter part of the twentieth century once again seems feasible. This is precisely what we intend to do in this retrospective of Appel’s works on paper.

Doubtlessly, this is the least-known facet of his oeuvre, but certainly not the least interesting. This exhibition of eighty-four works, most being shown for the first time, covers Appel’s entire career: the earliest dates from 1947 and the most recent from 2006, the year of his death. All of them have been provided by the foundation that handles his work, the Karel Appel Foundation.

Barely twenty, Appel began studying at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam during the German occupation. Over time, contact with the collective approach of the Cobra group and with Danish fellow artists, all older and more experienced than he was, helped him to develop artistically. After the ill-fated commission for a mural at Amsterdam City Hall—it was hidden from view shortly after he finished it— Appel moved to Paris in 1950. There he met art critic and Cobra defender Michel Ragon, who organized the group’s first exhibition at Librairie 73 and would publish the work of reference on Appel’s art in 1988. More crucial still was the meeting with Michel Tapié, advocate of an art autre (art of another kind) with which Appel vigorously identified. It was thanks to Tapié that he found himself showing alongside Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Jean Dubuffet, and Wols at Galerie Nina Dausset in Paris, followed by his first solo exhibition in the United States, at the Martha Jackson Gallery in 1954. Well in advance of Asger Jorn, Appel was the first ex-Cobra artist to find a place on the international scene.

His painterly language remained profoundly European, but the American experience had its repercussions in his work. Inspired by jazz, he painted portraits of greats including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sarah Vaughan. During the same period he was working extensively with architects, and some forty, often monumental works saw him testing out such new media as glass, textiles, and ceramics. After a decade of endless travel, in 1964 Appel bought the Château de Molesmes, near Auxerre, where he began working on polychrome sculpture. He moved to Paris again, then to Tuscany, dividing his time between Europe and America, constantly traveling, experimenting, and renewing his approach. And even if he never returned to his homeland permanently, Holland’s major art institutions remained faithful to him and have continued to present his work. Appel died in Zurich, but was buried at Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, the city that had meant so much to him in his early years.

 

About the exhibition at Centre Pompidou, Paris

The Centre Pompidou is presenting a retrospective of Dutch artist Karel Appel’s works on paper for the first time, with a selection of some eighty-five drawings from between 1947 and 2006, some of which have never been exhibited before. The artist was closely linked with the activities of the Cobra Group, and made a profound impression on European art in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Karel Appel settled in Paris in 1950, and then divided his time between Europe and America.
The first Cobra group artist to establish an international career, his pictorial language remained profoundly European, even though an American influence is evident in his work. The Cobra group was an international community movement of Dutch, Belgian and Danish artists founded in Paris in November 1948, whose collective activities ceased after the international experimental art exhibition staged in Liège in 1951. Its members were among the most important artists of their time.
But Appel rapidly moved away from the Cobra vocabulary and developed his own style (or styles, rather), experimenting with forms and materials throughout a long career spanning sixty years.

After occupying centre stage in the art world for several decades, Appel is now little known and somewhat forgotten outside the Netherlands. However, his deeply humanistic art, rooted in an Expressionistic tradition, underwent a revival during the Eighties, when the painting of the «Jungen Wilden» and Neo-Fauves was much in favour. The last major exhibition of his work in France goes back to 1987, in Toulouse and Nice.

 

From 21 October to 11 Juanuary 2016

https://www.centrepompidou.fr

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