Karel Appel produced the painting titled 'La Folie des Rues' in 1989. The painting refers to popular movements calling for change, which, according to Appel, always start out as 'street madness'.
The painting (4x14 metres) was originally intended for the Paris opera, but the final canvas turned out to be too large. Appel was very attached to the work and found a suitable buyer in the University of Amsterdam (UvA) on account of the University's 'freedom-loving character'.
‘La Folie des Rues’ is a painting with two virtually identical scenes, composed in contrasting colour schemes. The work in its entirety can be seen as depicting a turbulent event, even though one scene is a repetition of the other. A seemingly simple contrast of black and white, the reality is far more subtle. The painting was unveiled in the central hall of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Econometrics in the Roetersstraat on 30 September 1997. Building (REC) E is currently being renovated and will be reopened at the start of the 2014-2015 academic year, when visitors can once again view this work by Karel Appel in all its glory.