Born in Rochester, New York, Karl Gruppe was a sculptor in marble and bronze and held the position of chief Sculptor of Monument Restoration Project for the New York City Parks Department. Away from the city, he shared at studio with his brother, landscape painter Emile Gruppe, at Rocky Neck, Massachusetts.
He studied at the Royal Academy in Antwerp, Belgium, with Franz Juris and at the Art Student's League with Karl Bitter. He was a member of the National Academy of Design and served as Vice President in 1957. In 1949, he was President of the National Sculpture Society.
n 1980 Karl H. Gruppe was awarded the National Sculpture society's "Special Medal of Honor" for his "notable achievement in, and for encouragement to American Sculpture." Previous honorees included Daniel Chester French, Herbert Adams, Paul Manship, Adolph A. Weinman, James Earle Fraser, and Malvina Hoffman.
He was a Member of the National Advisory board, Sculpture Review; Advisory Board, Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina.; Life Member of the New York Numismatic Club; National Council Member of the National Academy of Design, 1968-71; First Vice President of the National Academy of Design 1956-59; Fellow in Perpetuity Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1956; President of the National Sculpture Society, 1960; Elected Centurian of the Century Club, 1950; Elected Academician of the National Academy of Design, 1950; Elected to the Art Commission Associates, 1948; Appointed Sculture Member of the New York City Art Commission, 1944-1947; Elected Associate of the National Academy of Design, 1939; Elected Chairman of the Committee on Sculpture of Fine Arts Federation of New York, 1938-1941; Elected Fellow of the National Sculpture Society 1924.