Faces On Broadway

In 1975, Karel Appel explored the haunting visage of Night Faces On Broadway through a series of etchings. Each print features a singular face, portrayed with bold features and vibrant colour palettes to draw on the ways in which the stage lighting eerily augments the appearance of actor's faces.

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Meaning & Analysis

Karel Appel’s Night Faces On Broadway series, created in 1975, offers a compelling study of expressive portraiture through the medium of etching. Known for his role in founding the CoBrA movement, Appel’s artistic ethos centred on raw emotion and spontaneous creativity. This series, comprising four etchings, focuses on a singular face rendered with striking boldness and a vivid interplay of colours.

The series is unified by its subject—a face that appears hauntingly vibrant yet enigmatic in its depiction. Each print maintains the same composition but varies in colour palette, ranging from bold, moody hues to vibrant bursts of colour. This variability highlights Appel’s experimental approach to etching, where each iteration captures a different emotional resonance through colour and form.

Appel’s use of etching, a technique that involves incising lines into a metal plate and printing from it, adds depth and texture to the facial features depicted. The bold, expressive strokes and intense colours evoke a sense of theatrical immediacy and raw emotion, characteristic of Appel’s broader artistic philosophy.

The Night Faces On Broadway series exemplifies Appel’s ability to convey profound emotional depth through visual abstraction. By manipulating colour across the series, he invites viewers into a contemplative exploration of human expression.

Notable Collections