About the artist
Christiaan Karel Appel (25 April 1921 – 3 May 2006) was a Dutch painter, poet and sculptor, born the son of Johanna Chevalier, a descendant of the French Huguenots. Appel started painting at the tender age of fourteen, his first work being a still life of a fruit basket. During the German occupation he studied at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam from 1940-1943. Here he met Corneille and Constant.
In 1946 Appel had his first show in Groningen. In 1947 Appel joined the Experimentele Groep, together with Anton Rooskens, Jan Nieuwenhuys and Theo Wolvecamp. In 1948 Karel Appel was one of the founding members of the avant-garde CoBrA movement. A year later, in 1949, he participated with the other CoBrA artists in a group exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam which led to many objections in the public and press. Appel used this in his advantage; his fresco ‘Questioning Children’, commissioned for the Amsterdam City Hall was covered up for 10years after causing controversy.
Appel was influenced by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Jean Dubuffet and as a result of the controversy Appel moved to Paris in 1950, followed by Mexico, United States, Brazil and Italy. After 1990 Appel became more popular again in The Netherlands and was given several big shows, organised by Rudy Fuchs and the CoBrA museum.
Appel’s work has been exhibited in a number of renowned galleries worldwide, including the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York, Galerie Lelong in Paris and Galerie Ulysses in Vienna.
Karel Appel died on 3 May 2006 in his house in Zürich, Switzerland.
Karel Appel’s work is held by many public collections including the Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle, The Netherlands, the Art Gallery of Hamilton , Ontario, Canada and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.