Karel Appel, ‘Hip, Hip, Hoorah!’ 1949
Karel Appel
Hip, Hip, Hoorah! 1949
Tate
© Karel Appel Foundation

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.

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