Karel Appel

  • Born 1921 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Died 2006 in Zurich, Switzerland
  • Europe
Karel Appel studied at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (State Academy of Fine Arts) in Amsterdam during the early 1940s. He co-founded the Nederlandse Experimentele Groep (Dutch Experimental Group) in 1948, which merged later that year with artists in Copenhagen and Brussels to form the avant-garde collective CoBrA. Influenced by folk, children’s and modern art, Appel created a controversial mural called Vragende Kinderen (Questioning Children) in 1949 for Amsterdam’s city hall; it was covered up for ten years. Appel settled in Paris in 1950, and after two years detached himself from CoBrA. He then became part of an artistic movement centered around the critic Michel Tapié (1909–1987) known as art informel (or art autre). Appel is best known for his expressive and colorful paintings depicting fabulous creatures and masks, but also experimented fruitfully in other mediums and artistic fields. He was awarded solo shows at the Palais des Beaux-Arts (Palace of Fine Arts), Brussels, in 1953 and at Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, in 1954. He received the UNESCO Prize at the 1954 Venice Biennale and the Guggenheim International Award in 1960. His later work included a collaboration with Beat poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) in the 1980s.

Artworks by Karel Appel in the exhibition