20TH CENTURY MOVEMENTS

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nai010 publishers

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Hardcover, 9.5 x 11.5 in. / 400 pgs / 450 color.

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Catalog: FALL 2016 p. 48   

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ISBN 9789462082663 TRADE
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Cobra: A History of a European Avant-Garde Movement

1948–1951

Edited by Willemijn Stokvis.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Cobra: A History of a European Avant-Garde Movement.'

The Cobra artists combined creative freedom and social engagement

Radical and transnational (the group’s name derives from the main urban centers of the movement--Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam), the postwar artist’s group Cobra caused a revolution in modern art in just three years of active work that continues to influence artists to this day. Willemijn Stokvis’ classic text on the group, Cobra: A History of a European Avant-Garde Movement was first published in 1974, and is now available in English for the first time, fully updated from the 1974 edition. In this comprehensive, richly illustrated volume, Stokvis (a leading authority on the movement) presents the history of Cobra through primary documents, conversations and correspondence conducted with the artists themselves and the movement’s eyewitnesses.

Cobra was active from its founding in November 1948 to its official disbanding in 1951, and included artists such as Asger Jorn, Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Constant and Corneille. Creative freedom, experimentation and social engagement were the driving forces of the movement, which married a primitivist eye for the raw creativity in the art of children and the mentally ill with a Marxist interpretation of the world to come. Rejecting both naturalism and pure abstraction at the end of the Second World War, Cobra valued unbridled experimentation and creative freedom, manifested in brilliant, colorful expressionist paintings of distorted figures that provided a more emotional and ideological European counterpoint to the roughly contemporary “action painting” of the Abstract Expressionists in the United States. After the group’s dissolution, some of Cobra’s members were inherited by the Situationist International.


Willemijn Stokvis is a leading authority on the Cobra movement and the author of various books, exhibition catalogues and articles about this group. She received the 1975 Karel van Mander Award for her 1973 dissertation on Cobra.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Cobra: A History of a European Avant-Garde Movement.'

Cobra: A History of a European Avant-Garde Movement

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 6/3/2017

New Edition of Willemijn Stokvis' definitive, 416-page study of the Cobra movement

Willemijn Stokvis' definitive, 416-page Cobra study

“In essence, our culture is already dead,” Cobra cofounder Constant Nieuwenhuys said in a 1948 interview. “Any facades still standing can be blown away tomorrow by the atom bomb, but even without that they can no longer bewitch us. All certainty has been stripped away, leaving us bereft of belief. Save this: that we are alive and that the nature of life is to manifest itself … The structure of our society means that we are certainly not yet free, but we are working for tomorrow’s world. A new society will follow this and then man will naturally do what now demands of us a tremendous effort: be a living creature.” Featured image is Constant's 1949 oil painting, "Apres nous la liberté (After Us, Liberty)." continue to blog


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