The biblical scale of the aftermath of World War II is referenced in Karel Appel’s Exodus no 1 (1951), symbolizing the flight of millions of people from the
defeated Third Reich. Evacuees tried to take along as many belongings as possible, which is reflected in the stack of items bundled atop a small cart,
including an animal that floats alongside the cart and a figure holding a doll or a small child. Human features such as arms or legs, wide-open eyes, and
a mouth can also be distinguished in this collage. Although the cart and its contents are rendered inplayful colors, the murky background hints at the
journey’s dark circumstances.
The free-form lines and shapes evoke both the artist’s aggressive handling of materials and a spirit of childlike innocence, an approach
that liberated him from academic restrictions.