Christiaan Karel Appel was a distinguished Dutch artist, best known for his paintings, sculptures, and poetry. As one of the founders of the avant-garde Cobra movement, Appel valued experimental spontaneity and abstract expressionism in his artwork. He left an undeniable impact on our culture and sparked an evolution in artistic expression. Today, esteemed museums all around the world celebrate his revolutionary pieces. Zimmerman Fine Art carries high-quality, limited-edition Karel Appel prints that honor his legacy.
Humble Beginnings, Artistic Influences, & Career Growth
On April 25, 1921, Karel Appel was born to Jan Appel and Johanna Chevalier in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. At the ripe age of fourteen, Karel started to take an interest in art and created his first painting of a still life on canvas. The next year, his uncle, Karel Chevalier, gifted him an easel and paint set and gave him amateur painting lessons to foster his passion. Unbeknownst to him, Karel Chevalier was helping his nephew to take the first step in his successful art career.
Karel Appel studied at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, the State Academy of Fine Arts, in Amsterdam from 1940 to 1943. His first art show was in 1946 in Groningen, the Netherlands. Much of his work was influenced by Henri Mattisse, Pablo Picasso, and Jean Dubuffet. By 1947, Appel introduced sculpting into his arsenal of skills. He used a wide variety of materials to craft his sculptures and painted the final product with a vibrant combination of white, red, yellow, blue, and black.
The Cobra Movement
In 1948, Karel Abel founded the avant-garde Cobra movement along with artists Corneille Guillaume Beverloo, Constant Nieuwenhuys, Jan Nieuwenhuys, and Christian Dotremont. This movement lasted approximately three years but made a noticeable impact for years to come. The Cobra movement embodied abstract expressionism and cited inspiration from the art of children.
Karel Appel’s artwork has had a global impact. His sculptures and paintings are featured in prestigious museums all around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. Additionally, his work has been showcased in numerous galleries, including the following: Galerie Lelong in Paris, Gallery LL in Amsterdam, Galerie Ulysses in Vienna, and the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York City.
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