This surname of EPLER was originally derived from the Middle English word APPEL acquired as a surname in any of various senses. It may originally have been used as a topographic name for someone living by a prominent apple tree or apple orchard, a metonymic occupational name for a grower or seller of apples; or a nickname for someone having bright red cheeks, like an apple. The importance in medieval northern Europe of apples, as a fruit which could be grown in a cold climate and would keep for use throughout the winter is hard to appreciate in these days of easy imports. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. The name has numerous variant spellings which include APFLER, APFEL, EPPEL, APPLEMAN, EPELMAN and APFELBERG. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. A notable member of this name is Karel Christian APPEL (l92l-) Dutch painter, born in Amsterdam and educated there at the Royal College of Art. APPEL, whose career as an artist began in l938, was one of an influential group of Dutch, Belgian and Danish Expressionists known as 'Cobra'. His work, featuring swirls of brilliant colour and aggressively contorted figures, has many affinities with American abstract Expressionism, and APPEL is considered to be one of the most powerful exponents of this style of painting. He has had many exhibitions in Europe and USA.
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