Karel Appel

(1921, Amsterdam - 2006, Zurich)

Karel Appel studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam from 1942 to 1944 where he was influenced by Picasso, Braque, Matisse and Dubuffet. He made his first trip to Paris in 1947 with his friend Corneille (1922-2010) whom he met during his studies. In 1948, with Corneille and Constant Anton Nieuwenhuys (1920-2005), he firmly established himself against geometric abstraction and founded the CoBrA collective for Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam in 1949 with Christian Dotremont, Jospeh Noiret and Asger Jorn. names of the cities from which the artists originate.

During the years 1946-1951, Appel realized many raised wooden panels and murals on the subject of the child, an important influence for the painter whom he considers uncontaminated by the conventions and rules of the West.

In 1949, the gallery Colette Allendy presents to the Parisians the paintings of Appel with those of Constant and Corneille. During the 1950s, Appel approached other movements such as informal art and participated in an exhibition by Michel Tapié "Non-abstract paintings" in 1952.

During the 1960s and 1970s, he made numerous trips to the United States, Mexico, India, Nepal ... and was immersed in the cultural richness of those countries whose influences are reflected in some of these works.

Appel realizes instinctual paintings where only painting and matter retain it. It will then cause the birth of an image that will appear in the middle of this play of matter and colors. The painter controls his instinct and knowledge while injecting into the work his creative impulse, which translates, according to him, the violence of the world around him.


Exhibitions selected

Solo exhibitions

2015/2016 - Retrospective - Drawings of Karel Appel, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Geroges Pompidou, Paris
2013 - Karel Appel. I do not paint, I hit ! Museum Jorn, Silkeborg, Danemark
2011 - Karel Appel & Van Gogh, Vincent van Gogh, Huis, Zundert, Pays-Bas
2008 - Karel Appel. Jazz 1958-1962, Musée Cobra, Amstelveen, Pays-Bas

Groupe exhibitions

2004 - Onderweg. Reis van Rudi Fuchs langs de kunst der Lage Landen, Palais des Beaux Arts, Bruxelles
2003 - Cobra: Copenhagen Brussel Amsterdam, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, Angleterre
2002 - Paris: Capital of the Arts, 1900-1968, The Royal Academy of Arts, Londres
2001 - The Will to Power of the Planets Zomeropstelling 2000, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam


Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles
Louisiana Museum, Humblebaek, Danemark
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Etats-Unis
Tate Modern, Londres
Les Abattoirs, Toulouse
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Musée d'art moderne et d'art contemporain, Nice
National Museum of Art, Osaka
Musée National d'Art Moderne
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen
Musée d'art contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine