Appel, Karel (Dutch 1921-2006)
Christiaan Karel Appel (25 April 1921 – 3 May 2006) was a Dutch painter, sculptor, and poet. He started painting at the age of fourteen and studied at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam in the 1940s. He was one of the founders of the avant-garde movement Cobra in 1948.
Karel Appel was born on 25 April 1921 in his parents' house at Dapperstraat 7 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. On the ground floor, his father, Jan Appel, had a barber shop. His mother, born Johanna Chevalier, was a descendant of French Huguenots. Karel Appel had three brothers.
At fourteen, Appel produced his first real painting, on canvas, a still life of a fruit basket. For his fifteenth birthday, his wealthy uncle Karel Chevalier gave him a paint set and an easel. An avid amateur painter himself, Chevalier gave his namesake some lessons in painting.
He studied at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten there from 1940 to 1943 and had his first show in Groningen in 1946. He was influenced by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Jean Dubuffet; he joined the Nederlandse Experimentele Groep and joined CoBrA in 1948 together with Corneille, Constant and Jan Nieuwenhuys (see also Aart Kemink). His 1949 fresco 'Questioning Children' in the Amsterdam City Hall caused controversy and was covered up for ten years.
As a result of this controversy Appel moved to Paris in 1950 and he developed his international reputation travelling to Mexico, the USA, Yugoslavia and Brazil. He is particularly noted for his mural work and lived between New York and Florence.
Appel died on 3 May 2006 in his home in Zürich, Switzerland. He suffered from a heart ailment. He was buried on 16 May 2006 at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France.
Years before his death, Appel established the Karel Appel Foundation, whose purpose is "to preserve [Appel's] artworks, to promote public awareness and knowledge of Karel Appel's oeuvre and to supervise publication of the Oeuvre Catalogue of the paintings, the works on paper and the sculptures.".
In the wake of his death, the Foundation (based in Amsterdam) functions as his official Estate, in addition to its primary service as an image archive. The U.S. copyright representative for the Karel Appel Foundation is the Artists Rights Society