Logga in

Appel & Rooskens

The 8th of November 1948 marks a central point within the Western art movement. At Café Notre Dame in Paris a group of young artists and intellectuals formed the beginning of a renewal of the European art scene. The Danish artist Asger Jorn, Belgian writers Christian Dotremont and Joseph Noiret and the Dutch artists Constant and Karel Appel named their newly formed group CoBrA after the initial letters of the capitals of each members home town Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. Their main interest was to liberate art from the westernized notions of style and culture.

Through art, the group sought to spark the rebirth of the human spirit and a primitive sense of vitality and creative energy. Their stance was shaped by the aftermath of the war and what they saw as the stagnation of art. The group tried to break away from the present emphasis on form and intellect, and instead encourage a spontaneous way of painting. They drew inspiration from the naive drawings made by children and the art of primitive cultures as well as contemporary art movements such as Art brut and artists like Jean Dubuffet, Paul Klee and Joan Miró. The core value that they sought was the sense of innocence and naivety, as a form of aesthetic uncorrupted by the Western tradition. By this they hoped to find an expression of hope and optimism in contrast to the continent’s dark past.

Karel Appel was to become the embodiment of these ideas. His paintings exude imagination and spontaneity, expressed by free, often wild brushstrokes and a use of thick layers of a vibrant array of colour. Appel saw the process of painting as more important than the finished work itself and is characterized by a spontaneous and intuitive approach to his motifs. ”Sometimes my work looks very childish, or child-like, schizophrenic or stupid, you know. But that was a good thing for me. Because for me, the material is the paint itself. In the mass of paint, I find my imagination and go to paint it.” Included in this sale is an important collection of paintings and sculptures by Karel Appel, stretching over different periods in the artist’s career. One of the highlights in the collection is the energetic oil painting “Waiting in space” from 1970, created at a time when the artist was at the top of his career and had achieved numerous prestigious awards for his artistry. Appel worked simultaneously with paintings and sculptures in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and represented in this sale is three monumental sculptures from the mid and later part of the 1970’s.

An artist closely associated with the CoBrA movement is the Dutch born Anton Rooskens and the upcoming sale includes a prominent collection of numerous works executed between 1957 and 1974. Rooskens was autodidact and first got inspired by African art and sculptured of ancestors from New Guinea after having seen an exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in 1945. In his early post-war works the straight, simplified lines reminisces the primitive forms and inspired him to enter a new stylistic era within the movement of the CoBrA group. The close relationship with the artists belonging to the CoBrA group began in 1946, and in 1948 he was the co-founder of the Nederlandse Experimentele Groep that later merged with CoBrA. Combining his fascination for African art with his grown interest in the expressive style of Appel, Corneille and Eugène Brands led to the creation of his own visual language. His compositions often consist of spontaneously painted colour fields together with images of gods, shields and signs in black, yellow, ochre, red and blue.

The CoBrA group existed as an officially defined movement for three years between 1948 and 1951, though its collective spirit and influence lasted for much of the 1950’s, and the movement is still expressed through the work of such artists as Karel Appel and Anton Rooskens.

Back to catalogue

Mer information