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The Cobra Museum
1181 ZX Amstelveen
+31 (0)20 5475050
CoBrA was an international movement of young, pioneering artists. In the years following World War II, they caused a revolution: a breakthrough in modern art which has affected artistic expressions and ideas about art to the present day.
The members of CoBrA found one another in their shared desire for a new, free art. In the three short years that CoBrA flourished – from 1948 through 1951 – they created an enormous number of works of art which are enthusiastically colourful and rich in fantasy. They experimented with all kinds of techniques and materials, and they set developments in post-war art European art on a new track.
In 1948, several Danish, Dutch and Belgian artists travelled to Paris for an international conference on Surrealism. The Belgian thinker and poet Christian Dotremont found that art must bring about real social change, and he was indignant about the attitude of the Surrealists, whom he found far too theoretical. He decided to set up a new group to promote new experimental art. His ideas were shared by Joseph Noiret, also a Belgian, Asger Jorn from Denmark and the Dutch artists Karel Appel, Constant Nieuwenhuijs and Corneille. Together, in the Hôtel Notre Dame café, they signed the founding CoBrA Manifesto on 8 November, 1948. CoBrA is an acronym for COpenhagen, BRussels and Amsterdam. CoBrA was the first post-war collaboration of European artists, with a range of artists and writers joining the group once it was founded.