From the exhibition Degree Zero: Drawing at Mid-century, opening June 21 at the Museum of Modern Art, where it continues through September 19: Karel Appel (Dutch, 1921-2006), “Beast,” 1956. Ink on paper, 9 3/8 x 12 5/8″ (23.8 x 32.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Joan and Lester Avnet Collection. © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Van Lennep Producties, Amsterdam. In the latest episode of our serial “Trompe-l’oeil,” Michel Ragon’s roman a clef about the Paris art world in the 1950s, the Abstract painter Manhès observes: “The French are always complaining with a certain rancor about the Americans who swept up all the Impressionist paintings. But they’ve conveniently forgotten that the Impressionists were understood in America from their first exhibition. It will be the same for us. We live in Paris, but our paintings will go to American museums because the French bureaucrats of the Fine Arts administration ridicule our work.” While not French, Karel Appel was one of the Abstract artists Michel Ragon championed.