Artist biography

Asger Jorn 1914-1973

Danish painter, ceramist, printmaker, sculptor and writer. Born Asger Jørgensen (a name he changed to Asger Jorn in 1945) at Vejrum near Struer in Denmark; he and his family moved to Silkeborg in 1929. Began to paint in 1930. Went to Paris in 1936 and attended Léger's academy for 10 months, then worked for Le Corbusier on a large mural for the 1937 Paris International Exhibition. First one-man exhibition (with Wemaëre) at Dam & Fønns, Copenhagen, 1938. Lived in Denmark throughout the war, and during the German Occupation printed a banned periodical; was trying in his paintings to achieve a freer and more spontaneous style. After the war travelled to Lapland and Tunisia, and also to France, Holland, Belgium, where he met Constant, Wemaëre, Appel and other artists and writers with whom he founded the COBRA group 1948-51. While in Silkeborg Sanatorium with tuberculosis 1951-2 painted the series 'The Wheel of Life' and 'On the Silent Myth'. Left Denmark in 1953 for Switzerland, Italy and France. From 1954 regularly spent the summer months at Albisola Marina in Northern Italy, where he made a huge ceramic mural in 1959 for a school at Aarhus in Denmark. Settled in Paris in 1958 and helped to found the International Situationist movement. From 1959 presented a large number of modern works, including many of his own, to the Silkeborg Museum. His writings include La Langue verte et la Cuite 1968, written with Noel Arnaud. Died in Aarhus.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.376