1921 Amsterdam – 2006 Zürich
Karel Appel was one of the most influential Dutch artists, multiplying as painter, sculptor, musician, and poet. Despite the parental objection, Appel enrolled at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam, where he studied between 1942 and 1944. After the war, the artist visited Copenhagen, what would later result in the foundation of the artistic group CoBrA in 1948. Together with other artists from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark, Appel became one of the most significant proponents of post-war avant-garde. Even though the group split just after a few years, the CoBrA published a magazine and displayed their work together at the acclaimed “International Experimental Art Exhibition” shown in Copenhagen (1948), Amsterdam (1949), and Liège (1951). After the decay, Appel cut all ties with the group, and joined the Parisian circle around Michel Tapié, an art critic, theorist, and curator of “Significance of the Informal” (1951) and Appel’s individual exhibition (1954), both at the Galerie Paul Facchetti. Finding serious international appreciation, Appel executed several murals and public commissions, contributed to the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (1954, 1964), and partook in Documenta in Kassel (1959, 1964), arguably the most crucial moments in his artistic career. Today, his work is featured in important collections of museums and institutions all over the world, including the Museum of Modern Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Tate Britain, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, or Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, among many others.