LOT 050

1921 - 2006

Le petit bonhomme 1
oil on wood in relief
signed and on verso titled, dated 1985 and inscribed "77"
25 1/4 x 17 3/4 in, 64.1 x 45.1 cm

Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000 CAD

Sold for: $25,000

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

Oude en Moderne Kunst, De Vuyst Auctioneers, Lokeren, Belgium, May 14, 2005, lot 508
Opera Gallery, Paris, 2005
Property of an Important Estate, British Columbia

Post-War & Contemporary Art catalogue, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, Fall 2018, essay by Mark Cheetham, page 97

Mark Cheetham wrote: “The cosmopolitan Dutch artist Karel Appel is known as one of the founding members of the CoBrA group, created in Paris in 1948 and self-dissolved in 1951. With members including Asger Jorn and Pierre Alechinsky, CoBrA set out to eclipse such contemporary academic forms as abstract art, which they saw as too rigid and rational. They proposed instead a spontaneous, experimental art that included various practices inspired by Primitivism. They were especially drawn to children's drawings and the art of the mentally disturbed, and held fast to the international aspirations characteristic of the avant-garde.”

Le petit bonhomme 1 (The Little Fellow 1) is a fine example of how Appel was not tied to pure abstraction. French critics also saw in Appel’s work the European equivalent of the American Abstract Expressionists, but the artist himself found this label too restrictive. In this work, he explored the human qualities of this abstracted figure with complete freedom of expression, reveling in the use of thick, tactile paint and unfettered brushwork. Appel’s liberatory approach captured the essence of this small figure, who exudes vulnerability, yet at the same time bristles with energy.

This lot is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity dated November 9, 2005, from the Opera Gallery.

Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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