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Karl Appel THE IMAGINATION THAT TURNED INTO REALITY museum collections.

THE IMAGINATION THAT TURNED INTO REALITY. Karel Appel is the only personality in Dutch art since 1945 to have established an international reputation. Born and bred in Amsterdam, Appel left Holland in 1950 for an unattached life in France and America, but he still represents the Dutch tradition in painting, from Rembrandt through Van Gogh. In his home country, he symbolizes the renewal that has taken place over the past thirty years. For the general public, Appel is the a of Cobra, the interna- tional movement that grew out of the Experimental Group Holland. The contribution of that group to the development of European art in the years 1948 -1951 has not yet been fully appreciated. The situation in art was vague in the extreme when the Dutch experimentalists, coming together with kindred spirits from Denmark and Belgium, deci- ded to start up a new group. Cobra took itS name from the three cities its members came from: Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam, but it also carries with it the connotations of violence and revolt that are associated with the snake. Cobra put forward spontaneity as against all the -isms that had turned into formulas and were throttling art. When Appel, suiting the action to the word, let out his Cry of Freedom in 1948, it was as if all hell had broken loose. The then director of the municipal museum in Amsterdam, Willem Sandberg, who came out strongly for the Cobra movement, was to say: “For the worthy citizen, the name of Karel Appel means total anarchy.” By this time, all that is ancient history, but Appel still goes on. Maybe he no longer bawls out Freedom over the roofs of the world, but it’s become integrat- ed into his whole life-style. He is the perfect image of the free artist, the elusive asocial figure who is hailed as a hero after being neglected and scorned. As art hero, Appel now has Success and fame, and these tend to appeal more to the imagination than the actual work of the imagination itself. But if Appel is a myth, and he knows well enough how to preserve and exploit that myth, behind the myth there is an artist who in the privacy of his studio has to struggle with the power of the imagination that he has conjured up, and who has to prove himself continually. The myth is no more than a smokes- creen. The life-story of a Rembrandt or a Van Gogh may bring us closer to the man, but it does not penetrate through to the artist, whose reality is harder to get at. The Appel story is growing every day, but it has precious little to do with the creative life of the artist who works with colour, space and form, conjuring up a world that reflects not only his own inner reality but the reality of our times. Though going on sixty, Appel remains at the top of the international art ladder. Nobody can stay that high without special qualities. With Appel, these are headstrong wilfulness and sheer individuality. For Appel, the “” is always more important than any “We”. When the Experimental Group was founded BelgiumBrazil Canada Denmark Germany Great Britain Italy Mexico The Netherlands Norway Sweden Switzerland Venezuela United States Antwerp: Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Brussels: Musee Royal des Beaux Arts Liege: Musee des Beaux Arts Ghent: Museum voor Schone Kunsten Sao Paolo: Museu de Arte Moderna Toronto: Toronto Art Gallery Art Gallery of Ontario Montreal: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery (graphic works) Copenhagen: Nationalmuseet Humbletbaek: Louisiana Museum Arhus: Kunstgalleri Berlin: Galerie des 20. Jahrhunderts London: Tate Gallery Turin: Galleria d’Arte Moderna Mexico City: Museo de Arte Moderno Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum Eindhoven: Stedelijk van Abbe Museum Haarlem: Frans Hals Museum The Hague: Haags Gemeentemuseum Rotterdam: Boymans van Beuningen Museum Utrecht: Centraal Museum der Gemeente Utrecht Oslo: Onstad Museum Stockholm: Moderna Museet Winterthur: Kunstmuseum Zurich: Kunsthaus Caracas : Museo de Bellas Artes Albuquerque: Boston: Museum of Fine Arts Buffalo: Albright-Knox Art Gallery Minneapolis: Walker Art Center New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum The Museum of Modern Art Phoenix: Phoenix Art Museum Pitsburgh: Carnegie Institute Poughkeepsie: Vassar College Museum Tucson: University of Arizona Art Gallery Provincetown: The Chrysler Art Museum Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum Berkeley, California: University of California Art Gallery San Francisco: Museum of Modern Art Washington DC: Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Abilene University of New Mexico Amarillo Beaumont Canton Dickinson Scripps St. Texas Tweed Museum Univ., Minn. Colorado State Jacksonville Lowe Art Museum University of Oklahoma Palm Springs Desert Museum Tacoma Art Institute Rose Art Museum, Brandeis New Jersey State Museum Mary Baldwin College of Art Wichita Falls, Texas Turman Gallery, Indiana State Baylor University EI Paso Skidmore Minneapolis Museum of Art Akron Allentown Museum Louisiana State University of Colorado Southern llinois, Carbondale Hunter Museum Columbia, S.C. Davidson Arnot University of Cal. at Irvine University of Wyoming New Orleans Salt Lake Art Center Ringling Museum Colby College University of Alabama Arizona State University Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA Wellesley College Museum Henry Art Gallery Rollins College Dayton Art Institute Albright Knox Museum Elvejhm Art Center, Madison Art Institute of Chicago Toledo Museum of Art Dallas Museum of Art Vassar College Indianapolis Museum of Art National Gallery of Art Brooklyn Museum Yale University Art Gallery Mobile Museum of Fine Arts Pasadena Museum of Art Wadsworth Athenum Miami Art Center St. Louis Art Museum Amherst Museum of Fine Arts Boston Mint Museum, Charlotte Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin University of Oregon Museum of Art Carnegie Institute Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis The Arkansas Art Center High Museum of Art, Atlanta Flint Museum of Art Dartmouth College Cincinnatti Museum of Art McNay Art Institute Stanford University Black Mountain College of Art University of Chicago, Smart Museum Fort Worth Museum of Art Los Angeles County Museum Fort Wayne Museum of Art Philadelphia Museum of Art Detroit Institute of Art Baltimore Museum of Art Harvard University, Fogg Museum Phoenix Art Museum Denver Art Museum Davenport Municipal Museum Indiana University, Bloomington Joslyn Museum Colby College The Neuberger Museum Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts Rhode Island School of Design Delaware Art Museum The Wichita Art Museum Atkins Museum of Fine Art, Kansas City Newark Museum Cleveland Museum of Art Notre Dame University Columbia University