Karel Appel was born in Amsterdam on April 25, 1921. From 1940 to 1943 he studied at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, in Amsterdam. In 1946 he held his first solo exhibition at Het Beerenhuis in Groningen and participated in the exhibition "Jonge Schilders" at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. In this period he is influenced first by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, then by Jean Dubuffet. He is part of the Nederlandse Experimentele Groep, and in 1948 he was one of the founders of the CoBrA group, together with Constant, Corneille and others. In 1949 he created a mural for the café of the Amsterdam City Hall, which caused such a stir that it was covered for ten years. In 1950 he was in Paris where, through the writer Ugo Claus, he met Michel Tapié, who supported him and helped him organize various exhibitions. In 1953 he held a personal exhibition at the Palais de Beaux-Arts in Brussels; in 1954 he received the UNESCO prize at the Venice Biennale, and in 1956 he was commissioned to paint a mural for the restaurant of the Stedelijk Museum. The following year he visited Mexico and the United States and won a graphics prize at the Ljubljana Biennale, in 1959 he was awarded the International Prize for painting at the São Paulo Biennale. The first important monograph dedicated to Appel, and written by Claus, was published in 1962. At the end of the 1960s Appel moved to the Château de Molesmes, near Paris. In 1968 the Center National d'Art Contemporain in Paris and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam dedicated exhibitions to him, as did the Kunsthalle Basel and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1969. In the fifties and sixties he made various mural paintings for public buildings. In 1970 he held an important exhibition at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, and in 1972 a traveling retrospective in Canada and the United States. Appel lived and worked for many years between New York and Florence and died in Zurich on May 3, 2006.