Cats

In 1978, Karel Appel, explored the dynamic essence of domestic cats through vivid series of lithographs. The Cats series captures the feline’s instinctual behaviours— including resting, walking, and stalking—infused with Appel's signature energetic brushstrokes and child-like imagery.

Karel Appel Cats for sale

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Meaning & Analysis

Karel Appel’s Cats series, realised in 1978, exemplifies his distinctive artistic style rooted in the avant-garde CoBrA movement. CoBrA, active from 1948 to 1951, rejected traditional art constraints in favour of raw expression, vivid colours, and spontaneity. Appel’s fascination with the domestic cat stems from its dual nature—aloof yet instinctual—which he vividly captures in this series of colour lithographs.

Each artwork in the Cats portfolio depicts feline subjects engaged in various activities: resting, walking, stalking, and displaying emotions from fear to playfulness. Appel’s brushstrokes are bold and expressive, reflecting his belief in art as an unfiltered expression of emotion and primal energy. The use of lithography on arches paper enhances the vibrancy of colours, adding a tactile depth to the dynamic scenes.

Appel’s approach to depicting cats transcends representation; it embodies his broader philosophical stance on art as a spontaneous, unguarded medium. By imbuing these everyday subjects with a sense of vitality and movement, Appel invites viewers to engage with the inherent energy and unpredictability of life itself.