Member of the Experimentele Groep, the CoBrA movement founded in 1948 by a group of young enlightened painters: Asger Jorn (Copenhagen), Pierre Alechinsky, Constant (both from Brussels) and Karel Appel (Amsterdam). Fueled by humanist philosophy and praising the renaissance of human thinking in the post-war context, CobrA dreamed itself international, libertarian and experimental. In 1948, Constant wrote: "A painting is no longer a structure of colors and lines, but rather a beast, a night, a scream, a person, or all of it at once" (Manifesto in Reflex, October 8, 1948). It was in this context that Appel started a revolution, painting his most essential works inspired by artistic forms not yet influenced by Western conventions and abolishing the frontier between abstract and figurative art.
In 1952, with the painting Tigerbird, Appel followed in the footsteps of Picasso and Paul Klee, borrowing to primitive, popular and raw art as well as naive art. Combining naturalist and expressionist influences, Tigerbird celebrates life, childhood, newfound freedom and light with an exceptional creative energy. In this vibrant and dynamic composition, the treatment of material is shaper than ever. Self-sufficient, the paintbrush is fast and bold. The vivid palette of colors is gaudy, and associated with impasto, gives the work a radiating picturesque power evoking softness, innocence, childhood brutality.
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