Group formed in 1948 by artists from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam whose painting style was highly expressionist and inspired by the art of children

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  • Karel Appel, 'Hip, Hip, Hoorah!' 1949

    Karel Appel
    Hip, Hip, Hoorah! 1949
    Oil on canvas
    support: 817 x 1270 mm
    Purchased with assistance from Evelyn, Lady Downshire's Trust Fund and the Gytha Trust 1988 Karel Appel Foundation

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  • Constant (Constant A. Nieuwenhuys), 'After Us, Liberty' 1949

    Constant (Constant A. Nieuwenhuys)
    After Us, Liberty 1949
    Oil on canvas
    support: 1395 x 1066 mm frame: 1499 x 1181 x 83 mm
    Purchased 1983 DACS, 2002

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  • Asger Jorn, 'The Timid Proud One' 1957

    Asger Jorn
    The Timid Proud One 1957
    Oil on board
    support: 997 x 806 mm frame: 1181 x 995 x 65 mm
    Purchased 1966 DACS 2006

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The name CoBrA is taken from the first letters of the cities (Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam) where the group’s founder members lived. However, they welcomed the coincidental reference to the snake, since animal imagery was common in CoBrA painting. As a group they had active social and political concerns. They held a major exhibition in 1949 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam under the title International Experimental Art.

Leading members of CoBrA were Karel Appel, Asger Jorn and Constant Nieuwenhuys (known simply as Constant). The group dissolved in the early 1950s.