Karel Appel Danse d'espace avant la tempête [Dance in Space before the Storm] 1959 © Karel Appel Foundation. All rights reserved. DACS, London 2023


Born 1921
Died 2006
Nationality Dutch
Birth place Amsterdam
Death place Zürich

Karel Appel was born in Amsterdam, where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts from 1940 to 1943. He was one of the foremost, post-war artists to abandon a sophisticated, ordered approach to painting and return instead to the primitive, child-like roots of artistic creation. In 1948 Appel was one of the co-founders of the COBRA group, who were influenced by primitive and naïve art. Appel's gestural and expressionistic paintings were created spontaneously, and although his work looks abstract, there are often suggestions of figures and recognisable shapes.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms


A group of Expressionist artists active in the late 1940s and 1950s. The name is derived from the letters of the capital cities of the countries of the artists involved - Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam.