The Triumph of Karel Appel

September 26, 2014 6:49 PM

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The Triumph of Karel Appel

The Dutch furniture designer Martin Visser was the first collector to recognize the importance of the Cobra movement. Visser knew Karel Appel and his friends when they had just begun their careers, and were living in extreme poverty, with no recognition from the art world. Visser recalled that he was shocked by the young artists' living conditions: "There wasn't even a toilet. I couldn't believe how these young men managed. It was a very different way of living, but it didn't disturb them in the least." Visser was impressed by Appel's spirit and daring. "Just wait and see," Appel once said to Visser, "we are going to be famous one day."

Appel was of course right: well before he died in 2006, he had become not only famous but rich. And today, with Amsterdam's two great museums finally finished with their renovations, visitors to Appel's native city can enjoy the evidence of Cobra's, and Appel's, triumph.

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