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Artists' association

1948 in Paris
1951 in Paris


The artists’ group CoBrA was founded in Paris in 1948 and published a total of eight magazines of the same name. The name was based on the cities from which the members of the group originally came: Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. At times the group included some fifty members, including artists like Asger Jorn, Corneille, Karel Appel, Constant and Karl Otto Götz. Following the events of the Second World War, CoBrA aimed to find new methods of creative artistic expression and to support revolutionary social and artistic change. Inspired by Marxist ideas, its members strove to create a form of folk art which was accessible to all and which could be widely understood. They questioned Western cultural and aesthetic standards in that their works revealed elements of prehistoric, archaic and ethnologically diverse cultures. They aimed at a spontaneous and experimental approach which also included childlike touches. Their colourful pictorial worlds were populated by monsters and archetypal animals, chimeras, growths and symbolically “primitive”-looking human figures. The CoBrA exhibition which was held in 1949 in Amsterdam also differed from the norm, in that the pictures were hung either very high or very low on the wall. Until its dissolution in 1951 CoBrA looked into and studied other art movements both intensively and critically, including Surrealism, Expressionism and Art Brut as well as Gestural Abstraction.

Persons belonging to CoBrA