News of: Friday, May 05 2006,
The painter Karel Appel has died Wednesday, at the age of 85, in the Swiss city of Zürich, where he lived.
Appel was famous for his experimental paint work, and particularly as a founding member of the CoBrA group.
The CoBrA group (CoBrA stands for Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) was a European avant-garde movement active from 1949 to 1952. Works of the CoBrA group, amongst which 10 works by Karel Appel, can be seen in the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen, a suburb just south of Amsterdam.
Karel Appel was born in Amsterdam, near the Dappermarkt in Amsterdam East, on April 25 1921. Appel was never much appreciated in the Netherlands; his fame (and wealth) he acquired only later on, when he moved abroad.
An exhibition of his work in the Stedelijk Museum (modern art), in 1949, was a national schandal. The Dutch press was unanimously outraged about his work.
Frustrated, he moved to Paris, and later to New York. There he made portraits of people like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan and Count Basie. He never lived in Holland again, and when he visited he would let the Dutch know about his frustration about the lack of recognition he received here.
He remained active until a few years ago.