Karel Appel

Without a doubt, Karel Appel is one of the most famous contemporary Dutch artists. He was part of the expressionist movement, that defined the face of art for the most part of the early 20th century. Appel was born in 1921 into a very ordinary family and grew up in a working class neighborhood in Amsterdam. At the end of the 40s he became a member of the avant-garde movement Cobra, in which affiliated artists employed experimenting, spontaneity and freedom as most important principles. The use of bright colors and simple shapes is typical for the work of Karel Appel, who also created murals and sculptures.

Getting used to Karel Appel

While his parents had decided on a career in his father’s barber shop for the young Karel Appel, he felt more attracted to art. From 1942 to 1944 he studied art at the National Academy of Amsterdam. During that time he became friends with artists like Corneille and Constant Nieuwenhuys. In 1948 they founded the Experimental Group, which developed in to the Cobra Group a few months later. The work of Appel has not received unanimous praise in the Netherlands and exhibitions often encountered much resistance. In Paris and Copenhagen his art was more appreciated.

Appel’s first exhibition

When Appel moved to France in 1950, the Cobra group fell apart and his style of painting became rougher and wilder. Outlines blurred, causing the colors to blend in with the background, trying to find the boundaries of abstraction. Reviled domestically he was still an important artist internationally. His work could be found at exhibitions in São Paulo, Kassel and New York. It was already 1968 when Appel finally had a solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Famous paintings by Appel are Interogative Children (1949), The Wild Boy (1954) and Tête de Soleil (1961).

Karel Appel Art Gallery

Karel Appel is on display in many museums all over the world, including the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the United States, Brazil and Britain. In our gallery you will also find his work on occasion. When you are interested in paintings by Karel Appel other modern art, you can make a selection on our website and submit a direct quotation.