Karel Appel 1921-2006

Artist biography

Karel Appel born 1921

Dutch painter, printmaker, sculptor and ceramist, born in Amsterdam. Studied at the State Academy in Amsterdam 1940-3. After the war attempted to start anew by working in the spirit of children's drawings. First one-man exhibition at Het Beerenhuis, Groningen, 1946. In 1947-8 made some rough painted wood reliefs incorporating corks, pieces of timber and so on, and with imagery of children. Founded with Corneille and Constant in 1948 the Experimental Group in Amsterdam, contributed to the periodical Reflex and took an active part in the COBRA group 1948-51 with Jorn and others. Moved to Paris with Corneille and Constant in 1950, his paintings soon becoming more thickly painted and with swirling forms, with grotesque imagery of animals, monsters and the human figure. Awarded the UNESCO prize at the 1954 Venice Biennale and the 1960 Guggenheim International Award. Visited New York for the first time in 1957. Began to make relief paintings in 1968, followed by painted sculptures in wood and polyester, and later in aluminium. Lives in Paris and New York.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.16-17