C O B R A (1948 –1951)
CoBrA was with Art Informel and Tachism among the post-World War II European art movements that were related to but developed independently from Abstract Expressionism in the United States. CoBrA was named after Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam, the capital of many members’ home countries. The group organized exhibitions and published pamphlets, a journal and short monographs. As an organization, CoBrA only existed about three years, but many of its members had prominent careers afterward. The group’s core figures were Dutchmen Karel Appel, Corneille and Constant, Dane Asger Jorn and Belgians Pierre Alechinsky and the poet Christian Dotremont. Dozens of other artists belonged to the group in some fashion, including Lucebert, Reinhoud and Jacques Doucet. CoBrA art combined the energy, spontaneity and painterly qualities of Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel, the subject matter and imagery of Art Brut, children’s drawings, Nordic mythology and African figuration, and Surrealism’s subconscious approach to making art. It produced an aesthetic that became a mainstay in Western European art.