Christiaan Karel Appel was a Dutch painter, sculptor, and poet born in Amsterdam. During the German occupation, he started painting at the age of fourteen and studied at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam in the 1940s. In 1948, he was one of the founders of the avant-garde movement Cobra. A year later, in 1949, he and the other CoBrA artists took part in a group exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Initially in the Netherlands and later also in the rest of the world, Karel Appel became the figurehead of the Cobra movement.
He was inspired by primitive art, children's drawings and outsider art, which can be traced in his compositions and the way of painting. Appel painted and made collages and sculptures with simple shapes and bright colours. In 1953, after the São Paolo Biennale, Appel had his international breakthrough. Since then he has exhibited all over the world, including MoMA. By 1990, the celebrated artist had studios in New York, Connecticut, Monaco and Tuscany.