Vogel, Karel Appel (1921-2006) and the Myth of the Making

A silhouette against a black shiny background, in the shape of a simple bird. Vivid lines, but seemingly dull colors.

Karel Appel (1921-2006), one of the most important members of the CoBrA group, produced this work in 1954, as the signature and dating on the lower left give away: K.Appel’54. Appels Vogel, which is part of the extensive CoBrA collection of The Phoebus Foundation, stimulates curiosity. Did the Amsterdammer paint this figure as spontaneously as a child draws on a sheet of paper – which the CoBrA movement was proud of – or is there more to it?

An in-depth study of the paint layers of Apple’s composition provides innovative insights into the working methods of this experimental artist and offers important tools for preserving and restoring his oeuvre. Because of the unconventional use of materials, the fragile Vogel cannot be treated with traditional restoration techniques.

The canvas aptly illustrates the wealth of information the artwork itself reveals by combining careful analysis with the naked eye with advanced recording technologies.

Paint layers tell so much more than you would think at first sight.

From the publication: Vogel, Karel Appel (1921-2006) and the Myth of the Making
Publisher: Phoebus Focus XIV
Author: Naomi Meulemans

ISBN 978 94 638 8334 4

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Modern art conservator – curator at The Phoebus Foundation (Family Huts, Antwerp). She obtained her master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Antwerp) and specialized in Art and Economics at the Catholic University of Leuven. She worked in New York for four years for the Fine Arts Conservation Group restoration company and continued her career in modern art in Antwerp with The Phoebus Foundation.

Here she investigates the modern Latin American and the CoBrA art collections. She has a passion for entrepreneurship and is involved on a daily basis in connecting entrepreneurs with the art world through the Plato network of VOKA (Chamber of Commerce Antwerp).

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