Copenhagen 1910, Copenhagen 1998
Egill Jacobsen was born in Copenhagen on the 12th of December, 1910. He was a painter. In the 30’s he studied at the Art Academy in his hometown. In 1934 he moved to Paris, a trip that would have an influence on his painting techniques. Initially, he painted in a socio-realistic manner, but under the influence of Picasso, he developed a new style in which the visible reality disappeared into the background and gave way to a more expressive and abstract way of working. He painted experimental barbaric masks existing out of bright, saturated colors. The mask is a frequently recurring motif in his oeuvre and also the influence of primitive art and fantasy shapes evidently come to the fore. In the following year he joined the Danish group of artists Linien (Lines) (1934-1939). In 1938 he painted Obhobning (1938), which is a dramatic work consisting of a sombre utilization of colors, strong lines and splashes of paint in which he reached the most liberal, expressive working method that he has ever attained. This painting was a great inspiring force for the members of Linien and other contemporaries and as from that moment it became clear to them in which direction they should go: they went in search of a way of painting in which spontaneity and subconscious archetypes were paramount. Because of Obhobning (1938), Jacobsen is considered to be one of the Danish pioneers of spontaneous mythic painting artistry of the modern era. In 1940 he decided, like his fellow artists Asger Jorn (1914-1973) and Carl-Henning Pedersen (1913-2007), to join the prewar Danish experimental artists Høst (1942-1949). During World War II he wrote contributions for the magazine Helhesten (1941-1944). In 1948, he became involved with the CoBrA movement. Even after the collapse of CoBrA, he remained active as a painter. Besides working as a painter he became a professor in 1959 at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. The artworks of Jacobsen have been and still are exhibited worldwide. He has twice participated in the Venice Biennial (1948 and 1956) and once at the São Paulo Biennial (1971). Remarkably, the CoBrA Museum of Modern Art had the honor in 2012 to receive two of Jacobsen’s works, Havet (1947) and Hvid Maske (1946) as gifts from the Evelyn and Egill Jacobsen Foundation.