Carlos Carnero was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, but moved to Paris in the 1940s first to study under André Lhote, but then under Fernand Léger in the boulevard de Clichy. Léger acknowledged Carlos as one of his finest pupils and asked him to stay on as the secretary and assistant of his atelier - a post he held even after Léger's death in 1955. During that period he also came to know both Picasso and Miro and their influence can also be seen in Carnero's work.
During the early 1960s he moved decisively towards abstraction and became part of the Tachisme movement in Paris that included Hartung and Soulages.
He exhibited very widely in Paris and Europe and his work is held in public collections worldwide.