Cobra Museum voor moderne kunst, Museum of modern art


current exhibitions

Alberto Burri Composition, 1953
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
© c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2014

Jackson Pollock
Ocean Greyness, 1953
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
© c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2014

Asger Jorn
Green Ballet, 1960
Oil on canvas
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
© c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2014

Karel Appel
Beach Life, 1957
Collection Jan Nieuwenhuizen Segaar, Belgium
© Karel Appel Foundation c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2014


From the Guggenheim Collection to the Cobra Museum Amstelveen

April 5 - August 31

The Solomon R. Guggenheim's International Abstraction: 1949-1960 is coming to the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen. Thirteen of these works were in the Guggenheim's inaugural exhibition in 1959.

The 1950s ushered in a diversity of fresh, bold artistic styles and avant-garde associations on both sides of the Atlantic. From the Abstract Expressionist and Art Informel movements to the CoBrA and Dau al Set artist groups, the revitalization of experimental art following World War II signified renewed interest in freedom of expression and spontaneity. Artists experimented with unorthodox materials, techniques and subject matter, and reexamined earlier art movements, such as Surrealism. French writer Michel Tapié even declared the existence of un art autre (art of another kind) - a radical break with all traditional notions of order and composition, in a movement toward something wholly “other”.

From the Guggenheim Collection: International Abstraction 1949-1960, as the title suggests, showcases a selection of works from the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. For the very first time, works from the core collection of mid-twentieth century art from this world-renowned institution are on view in the Netherlands.

The exhibition focuses on the years from 1949 to 1960, a dynamic period in which modern art and post-World War II societies were undergoing radical changes.New York joined Paris as a center of world culture: in both cities, artists were fervently in search of new, expressive and performative painting.

From the Guggenheim Collection also celebrates a vital time in the history of the Guggenheim Museum. In 1952, James Johnson Sweeney was appointed director, and the year 1959 marked the opening of the sensational Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building. The inaugural exhibition in 1959 included over 120 works. They were partly by important modernists from the collection, such as Constantin Brancusi and Vasily Kandinsky, but more than half of the works had been acquired during Sweeney’s tenure. They included 40 contemporary paintings and sculptures by an international array of artists, clearly demonstrating Sweeney’s commitment to innovation and the art of his own day.

The collaboration between the Cobra Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum began in 2012, when the Guggenheim's Art of Another Kind, curated by Tracey Bashkoff and Megan Fontanella, was presented in New York. The Cobra artists and their ideas had a prominent role in that exhibition, and it now serves as a model for the presentation in Amstelveen.


Le Petit Cobra

For the five months of the exhibition, the Cobra Museum will be open 7 days a week from 10:00 AM. Three evenings each week, there will be exceptional evening presentations in collaboration with the museum restaurant, Le Petit Cobra, giving the public, in select groups of no more than 40 people, the opportunity to visit the exhibition in the evenings and dine amongst the works of the Cobra Museum collection. The four- or five- course menus will be prepared by French chef Didier Besnard.

More information on the exclusive evening openings with dinner? Check the website or call Ramon on 020 5475037

The exhibition has been made possible with the support of the VSB fonds, SNS-REAAL Fonds, ZABAWAS, Turing Foundation, Cobra Business Club and Cobra Entrepreneurs. The Cobra Museum is generously supported by the BankGiro Loterij and the City of Amstelveen


Works from the collection of the Cobra Museum of Modern Art

The CoBrA artists, many of whom had left-wing political leanings following the isolation and divisions inflicted by the war, wanted to create a new form of art that transcended national borders and could assume a central place in society. Cobra artists wanted to produce art that could be understood by everyone, that would speak directly to the individual. To achieve this, they sought to get as close as possible to the underlying core of what it meant to be human. They sought ‘authenticity’, and found something closer to that authenticity in the artistic expressions of children, folk culture and in non-Western societies. In practice, this meant experimenting with ‘a new, spontaneous painterly expression’. In this way, Cobra artists investigated the relationships between drawing, writing and painting. They strove to liberate colour from form. Some of the artists associated with Cobra, including Karel Appel and Asger Jorn, had specific periods when abstraction played a larger role in their work, but there were also artists associated with Cobra who had always leaned more strongly towards abstraction, such as Eugène Brands, Anton Rooskens, Theo Wolvecamp and the Danish artist, Erik Ortvad. It is this field of tension between figuration and abstraction that is central in this presentation with works from the collection of the Cobra Museum of Modern Art

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