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Else Alfelt

Copenhagen -

Kopenhagen 1910, Kopenhagen 1975

Else Alfelt was born as Else Kirsten Tove Alfelt in Copenhagen on the 16th of September, 1910. In 1949, Alfelt took part in the first major Cobra exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. She participated in various other Cobra events, such as the international meeting in the Danish Bregnerød in 1949

Else Alfelt started painting at a young age, yet she did not go to art school. She did, however, become involved in various artists’ associations and collectives and exhibited her work very regularly. From 1942 she was a member of Høst, an art group of which many members became involved with Cobra in 1948. With other Danish artists Alfelt shared the idea that art should be expressive, spontaneous and experimental.

In 1949, Alfelt, like her husband Carl-Henning Pedersen, took part in the first major Cobra exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. She participated in various other Cobra events, such as the international meeting in the Danish Bregnerød in 1949. The poet Edouard Jaguer, who was very closely involved with Cobra, once said about Alfelt in relation to the male-dominated movement that she was “not a lamb in the werewolf’s den”.

 

Else Alfelt, Points reaching for the sky

Characteristic of Alfelt’s oeuvre are her paintings of abstract landscapes. Pointed mountains that reach high into the sky with above them a piercing sun, or undulating hills in softly coloured, dynamic touches. Later in her career, the spiral also became a recurring motif, representing the life cycle of birth, life and death. Alfelt’s compositions are characterised by the alternation between soft, round lines and hard, geometric lines. She often used a fixed order to build up her compositions. First she drew the contours with a pencil, then coloured them in. Allegedly, Alfelt’s work was a little too abstract in the eyes of particularly the Dutch Cobra members. With regard to imagery, it indeed differs from the curious and more or less figurative beings that inhabit a many of the Cobra paintings.

Else Alfelt,

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