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Cats: A Profile by Karel Appel

February 7 - April 15, 2004


Karel Appel (1921-2006, Amsterdam) is one of the Netherlands' most celebrated 20th century artists. In the years following his studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam, he became a founding member of CoBrA. Established in 1948 and active through 1951, CoBrA (a title created by incorporating the first letters of the members' cities of residence - Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam) rejected the formal and rationalist conventions of art establishment following World War II and adopted a doctrine that embraced the raw energy of primitive art, the imagination of children's drawings, and a bright, bold palette.

Cats, a portfolio of sixteen lithographs from the University of Wyoming Art Museum collection, is a fanciful series of images that may be seen as a meditation on this domestic animal. It is an exquisite example of Appel's career-long interest in animals as a subject and his masterful use of flat brushstrokes to yield a patterning of rectangular strokes of ink reminiscent of the aggressive layers of paint that distinguishes his paintings.

Appel has exhibited in galleries and museum worldwide and is represented in major museums throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. He was awarded the UNESCO Prize at the 27th International Biennale in Venice and the first prize at the Guggenheim International Exhibition in New York in 1960. The Reality of Karel Appel, a film by Dutch director Jan Vrijman and music by Dizzy Gillespie and Karel Appel was released in 1961. Since 1997, he has divided his time between Tuscany and the United States.

Images:

Left: Karel Appel, About A Cat, Lithograph, 109/125, 22 x 30 inches, Gift of Dr. Owen Berger, University of Wyoming Art Museum, 79.0020.017

Center: Karel Appel, Blue Cat, Lithograph, 109/125, 22 x 30 inches, Gift of Dr. Owen Berger, University of Wyoming Art Museum, 79.0020.016

Right: Karel Appel, Green Cat, Lithograph, 109/125, 22 x 30 inches, Gift of Dr. Owen Berger, University of Wyoming Art Museum, 79.0020.008





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