Horizon of Tuscany n° 036
Karel Appel, 1995
Karel Appel (Amsterdam, NL, 1921 – Zurich, CH, 2006)
Appel was affiliated with the COBRA movement: an international group of artists who shortly after the Second World War strove to create art which would strike an immediate chord with all individuals. Their art investigated the core of human existence, which they believed to see in children's drawings, primitive art forms and non-western cultures. They experimented with spontaneous paintwork and pure, expressive colours which they sought to divorce from their form. In Appel's case, abstraction thus took on an increasingly rominent role yet without completely abandoning the figurative tradition. Appel continued to experiment unabated for sixty years. With his fanciful, vigorous and massive body of work, Appel is considered one of the main innovators of the Dutch fine arts in the twentieth century.
The many different studios frequented by Appel during his long, productive career were a constant source of new artistic impulses. Drawn by the rich cultural history of Tuscany, Appel installed himself in his newly acquired Villa Licia in 1989 after periods in New York City and the Netherlands. Inspired by the rolling Tuscan hills, Appel painted his first landscapes since 1939 during the ten summers that would follow. Appel used this classical subject to explore the interplay between traditional/contemporary and culture/nature which was ever so important to him. This can be seen in Horizon of Tuscany no.36 by the radical degree of abstraction, the jagged forms and the unnatural colours in which the viewer can discern a landscape with trees, grass and mountains.
1942-1944: Amsterdam Academy of Art, NL