Karel Appel

1921 - 2006 · Netherlands

Artist biography

Karel Appel was a student at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam from 1942 to 1944 where he was influenced by Picasso, Braque, Matisse and Dubuffet. He made his first trip to Paris in 1947 with his friend Corneille (1922-2010) whom he met during his studies. In 1948, with Corneille and Constant Anton Nieuwenhuys (1920-2005), he positioned himself firmly against geometric abstraction and founded in 1949 with Christian Dotremont, Jospeh Noiret and Asger Jorn, the collective CoBrA, for Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, the names of the cities where the artists come from.

During the years 1946-1951, Appel produced numerous wood panels in relief and murals on the theme of the child, an important influence for the painter whom he considers to be uncontaminated by western conventions and rules.

In 1949, the Colette Allendy gallery presented Parisian paintings of Appel alongside those of Constant and Corneille. During the 1950s, Appel joined other movements such as informal art and participated in an exhibition by Michel Tapié “Non-abstract paintings” in 1952.

During the 1960s and 1970s, he made numerous trips to the United States, in Mexico, India, Nepal ... and soak up the cultural riches of these countries, whose influences are found in some of these works.

Appel creates instinctual paintings where only the paint and the material hold him back. It will then cause the birth of an image which will appear in the middle of this play of matter and colors. The painter controls his instinct and his knowledge while injecting into the work his creative impulse which translates according to him the violence of the world which surrounds him.

Karel Appel

  • Artworks in Collections 1
  • Exhibitions 14

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