Appel, Karel

Born in Amsterdam in 1921, Karel Appel was an influential painter and sculptor who began his artistic journey at the age of fourteen. He went on to study at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten and had his first solo exhibition in 1946. Appel is known for his figurative abstractions, which employ expressive colors and forms. He rejected mainstream aesthetics in favor of a style reminiscent of folk art.

In 1948, he helped to found the short-lived, but highly influential avant-garde group, CoBrA. This group of 30 artists was bound together by a rejection of rationalism and geometric abstraction, in favor of spontaneity and rebellion. CoBrA’s style distinguished itself visually through bold and expressive works that were inspired by folk art and children’s art.

Appel was awarded the UNESCO Prize at the 1954 Venice Biennale. During the 1950s and 1960s he was commissioned to create numerous murals for public buildings in various countries around the world. His works are held in museums throughout the world, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washinginton D.C., and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.