Los Angeles

Karel Appel

Pavilion Gallery, Bal­boa

Drawn solely from California col­lections and purporting to be a com­prehensive survey, the exhibition is ample in size and quality (22 oils and 33 gouaches, drawings and lithographs), but weighted with work from 1959–60. While one would not have supposed that such numbers of locally owned Appels would even be available, it is nonetheless difficult to trace his de­velopment from the samples here.

A general description would picture him as a graphic Expressionist who has moved in a dozen years from con­tained, child-like images through spon­taneous cartoons, to gestural patchy configurations. The Blue Cat and Un Oiseau (1954) anticipate the ma­ture Appel, and his style is fully re­alized by 1956 in the excellent Savage Birds or Head of a Man (1958). His images float, usually two opposing ele­ments—heads, animals, tangles of lines—contorting for control of the narrow and vignetted space. The

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.