Born in Gera, Germany and surviving an appalling home life, Karl spent more than 60 years in Britain after WWII and his release from prison-of-war camp in 1948. Though he was largely self-taught as an artist, he did spend one term in 1949 at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London.

'Brought to St Ives by Bryan WYNTER in 1955, Karl was a survivor of Germany's Hitler Youth movement (an enforced servitude from which he suffered all his life in black moods of depression). Having been captured after his first parachute jump and kept in a Scottish prisoner of war camp, he made his way to London on release, and was found by Wynter, working in a Soho stonemason's yard.' (Jeremy LE GRICE)

First he lived in the cottages just below the Poor House at Zennor, previously inhabited by D H Lawrence & Frieda von Richtofen, then later near St Just with his long-term friend and second wife Petronilla Silva.