An ACT by Karel Appel

How  Karel Appel’s painting  ‘DAAD’  (ACT)  is inspected

Last Tuesday (10-6-2014) was a special day in the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen (Netherlands).

Schoonheid = Beauty
Schoonheid = Beauty

One of the owners of the painting DAAD by Karel Appel discusses the consolidation of the work of the restorer Marjan Visser. In the past few weeks she has taken on the task to consolidate the more than 2 x 2 meter painting. With a good result.

The painting was made ​​during the shooting of the film the Reality of Karel Appel by Jan Vrijman. Like Pollock and Picasso were filmed during the artistic process while they were working on a glass, Jan Vrijman shot though the canvas while Karel Appel was in his creative process.

On the canvas: a portrait

The subject on the canvas seems abstract, but the artist has painted the portrait of probably a murderer.

That morning a killer had appeared with his portrait (handsome boy from a neat family in Baarn) in the papers. Apple was impressed by this beautiful murderer and processed it in a major ‘barbaric’ attack with paint on this canvas. The camera recorded, jazz accompanied the process.

The text on the canvas (Door een DAAD aan het daglicht getreden om zijn schoonheid te tonen – By an ACT he appeared in the daylight to show his beauty / translation ES)  refers on one hand to the killer, on the other hand to Appel’s working method and is also one of the major goals of the Cobra movement.

Get to work! Don’t talk too much.

DSC_2729 cobra museum

DSC_2751 Cobra museumThe loan expires, so the painting is going on a trip. Discussions with the carrier Kortmann and curator Astrid Wassenberg. The black cloth on the back is the original fabric of the film used for the film in 1961.

The mouth is the hole where the eye of the camera could shoot through. Appel attacks the canvas and thus he also directly attacks the viewer. The viewer is this canvas in the film.

The film was heavily criticized in the Netherlands in 1962, however a year later it won a Golden Bear in Berlin. The film has now become a national export product. Karel Appel became thereby internationally famous as a painting barbarian. Not always to his own consent.

Jan Vrijman, both in his films and in the pieces he wrote about Appel with statements like: “I just mess around a bit ‘, has been very important for the perception of Appel.

Karel Appel, Jan Vrijman, the painting DAAD / ACT and the cameraman. foto Ed van der Elsken fotomuseum Rotterdam  URL: AD review Exhibition: The painting was on show in a huge Cobra and Jazz exhibition in the Cobramuseum in 2008

Ed van der Elksen and Simon Vinkenoog were allowed to attend the filming. The one to make pictures the other to write. No one else had access. Music for the film was specially made by Dizzy Gillespie on Appel’s request. And Appel also composed Musique Barbare himself. This process was filmed by Ed van der Elsken.


Karel Appel gave the painting DAAD / ACT to Jan Vrijman.

It is a painting which you tend to love more and more. It radiates an enormous energy.

Get to work! Just do it!

See for more beautiful pictures on this subject by Ed van der Elsken: fotomuseum in Rotterdam.

See also  Marjan de Visser

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