Karel Appel is one of the leading members of the Cobra group where writers, poets and artists united to work together from Kopenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. In all this the collective aspect was most dominant. Led by the Belgian writer Dotremont the CoBrA-magazine, books and much talked about exhibitions came into being.CoBrA showed a new mentality, a new approach and new depictions.
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In 1948 Appel and a group of young Dutch artists set up the Dutch Experimental Group in Amsterdam.
The Group publishes the periodical Reflex and some months later merges with the Danish and Belgian artists to become the International Cobra group. It is founded on November 8, at the Café de l’Hotel Notre Dame in Paris, by Dotremont and Noiret (Belgium), Jorn (Denmark), Appel, Constant and Corneille (The Netherlands). Later, Alechinsky (Belgium) joins the group.
Karel Appel was born in Amsterdam where he also studied fine arts at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. In 1948, together with Corneille, Constant and Jan Nieuwenhuys, he founded Reflex an experimental group of artists named after the magazine they published. Reflex became part of the international CoBrA (Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) movement founded in Paris 8th November 1948. CoBrA became known for the spontaneous expressionistic style that characterized the paintings rendered by its members. Appel is considered one of the initiators of CoBrA, which brought international recognition to a number of its members, such as Asger Jorn, Egill Jacobsen, Corneille and Pierre Alechinsky.