The CoBrA art movement was a major force in the art world of the previous century, consisting of young, pioneering artists. They caused a breakthrough in modern art, greatly influencing art and art theory to the present day. You can learn all about it at the CoBrA Museum in Amstelveen.
In 1948, just three years after the devastating World War II, a group of artists from Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands went to an international Surrealism conference in Paris. Not satisfied with their theoretical approach to art, Belgian poet Christian Dotremont decided to form a new group. A group that would promote a more radical, experimental art form. He was joined by several other artists, like Dutch Karel Appel and Corneille. They signed a manifesto in November of 1948, marking the founding of CoBrA, an acronym for Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. It was the first post-war collaboration of European artists. Its members shared a desire for a new, free type of art. From 1948 to 1951, CoBrA flourished. Their creative output was enormous, producing a large number of artworks. All of the artists differed in stylistic elements, but the works nevertheless shared a colorful pallet and a vivid imaginary world. CoBrA experimented with various techniques and materials, sending European art into a new direction.
By the general public, modern art is often associated with lacking any artistic skills. ‘My son of five years old could make that’, is a comment you sometimes hear at museums. To the art of CoBrA, there is some truth to that. But in another way than one might think. The members of CoBrA deliberately aimed at spontaneous expression. In order to achieve a kind of directness in their art, they turned to the creative works of children and the mentally challenged. But they also looked closely at non-western art forms, like folk art, tribal art, and forms of Scandinavian primitive art. orms, like folk art, tribal art, and forms of Scandinavian primitive art.
The work of CoBrA artists was picked up at an early stage by the director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Willem Sandberg. He gave the young artists carte blanche for their first group exhibition in 1949. But not everyone was as excited as Sandberg. The Dutch press loathed the experimental art of CoBrA, calling it names like ‘scribble, claptrap, and splotches’. And CoBrA had other problems, too. The individual artists of the group slowly began exploring other possibilities and moved in separate directions. After one final group exhibition in 1951, Cobra was officially dissolved. But its importance to the art of today lives on.
CoBrA in Amstelveen
The presentation of the legacy of CoBrA art has accumulated in a special museum. The collection of CoBrA Museum in Amstelveen consists of a large number of works, in various shapes, sizes and media. You can admire paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, photos, magazines, films and even letters from the CoBrA members. CoBrA caused a breakthrough in modern art, greatly influencing art and art theory to the present day. You can learn all about it at the CoBrA Museum in Amstelveen.
Sandbergplein 1, AmstelveenWeb
Daily 11:00 - 17:00
Closed on Monday
Discover AmsterdamWhat to do in the Netherlands beyond Amsterdam? We've compiled a list of things to do in the Netherlands. Find our country guide here!
The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is a must see. It is the biggest museum of modern and contemporary art and design in the Netherlands. Come and see iconic works by Appel, Chagall, Dumas, De Kooning, Koons, Malevich, Matisse, Mondriaan, Picasso, Rietveld, Warhol and many others. The Stedelijk Museum is the place where everyone can discover …