Carlos Nadal was born in Paris, in 1917, to Catalan parents. His father ran an atelier of decorative arts, making posters and theatre backdrops, which in the early 1920s was a lucrative business. At the age of 13 he lied about his age and enrolled as a student of the School of Arts and Crafts in Barcelona, and in 1932 became a student of the Senior Fine Art Academy of St George, Barcelona. In 1936 he was conscripted into the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War, fighting with them on the Aragonese Front and, towards the end of the campaign, in the front line at Tremp.
In January 1939, he was captured and interred at the concentration camp at St Cyprien. He spent five long months only able to draw on walls and pieces of detritus. This stood Nadal in good stead as he later could and would paint on anything from tea-towels to wallpaper, if the correct materials were not available. Carlos Nadal was heavily influenced by Henri Matisse and Georges Braque, whom he met first as a young child at his father’s studio.
His first solo exhibition took place in 1944 in the lounge of Barcelona The Art gallery. In 1947 and in 1950 he exhibited in Brussels and Antwerp frequently and exhibited at the Lounge of Paris. In 1957 Nadal was commissioned to decorate the Belgian Pavilion at the World Atom Fair in Switzerland and then in 1958 to paint a large continuous mural for the Belgian Congo Transport Company at the Universal Exhibition in Brussels, consisting of 320 square meters of continuous painting. In 1984 The Harrogate International Festival held a retrospective of Nadal’s work.