The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

European Art After World War II

What was CoBra?

CoBra was an international group of artists whose name was derived from the home cities of its founding members: Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. The group was founded by Danish painter Asger Jorn (1914–1973) and poet Christian Dotremont (1922–1979) in a Paris café in 1948. (The group lasted until 1951.) They rejected Surrealism, and like other artistic movements after World War II, were interested in starting fresh, and developing a new art for the post-war age. For CoBra, this meant emphasizing spontaneous creativity and artistic experimentation. Many of the works by group members, which also included Karel Appel (1921–2006), George Constant (1920–2005), and “Corneille” (1922–2010), were bold, expressive, and steeped in fantasy. In Jorn’s painting In the Beginning Was the Image (1965–1966), primary colors dominate and appear smeared across the canvas while Constant’s Fantastic Animals (1947) evokes primal instincts through child-like depictions of wild beasts. CoBra members also valued the art of all people, regardless of background, social class, or academic training, and were particularly inspired by children’s drawings.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Art History Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App