Christiaan Karel Appel Biography

Christiaan Karel Appel




The Dutch painter and printmaker Christiaan Karel Appel was born in Amsterdam, Holland on April 25th, 1921. Appel studied at the academy in Amsterdam and had his first show in Groningen, 1946. His early work was influenced by Picasso, Matisse, and Dubuffet.

In 1948, with Corneille and Constant, Appel founded the experimental group and magazine Reflex, which soon thereafter merged with the CoBrA movement. It was in Paris, where he had an exhibition in 1949 and took up residence in 1950, that Appel truly mastered his creative powers. He worked freely with color, which he applied in thick blotches as a reaction against the geometric Academicism inherited from neoplasticism, and his subject matter was both broad-ranging and powerful.

A trip to the United States in 1957, where he was introduced to Action Painting and Abstract Expressionism, ushered in a new period for Appel, as his work became more dynamic. He also created polychrome sculptures, stained-glass windows, and mural paintings and prints in all media.

Karel Appel died at his home in Zurich on May 3, 2006.