Dutch painter, sculptor and poet Karel Appel (1921-2006) was born in Amsterdam. His father was a barber and that was to be his profession too. Instead, he chose art school (Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten). After the Second Wolrd War he travelled to Liege and Paris. In November 1948, Appel helped found the Cobra art movement. He drew inspiration from primitive art, children’s drawings and outsider art, which he called unspoilt and pure. Appel painted spontaneously and created his compositions as he worked. He used to say: 'I just mess around'.
Appel painted and made collages and sculptures using simple forms and vivid colours. In 1953, Appel made his name internationally at the São Paolo Biënnale. This led to exhibitions around the world. By 1990, he had studios in New York, Connecticut, Monaco and Tuscany.