curio cabinet Postwar Expressionism in Western Europe A painting is not a composition of colour and line, but an animal, a night, a scream, a human being, or all of these together. --Constant Nieuwenhuys, "Manifesto," Reflex #1 (SeptemberOctober 1948) The Cobra art movement was announced in 1948 in the group's first issue of Reflex, a magazine containing lithographs, articles and reproductions by its members. Their name was the acronym of capitals of the countries where the artists lived--Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. Founding member Constant Nieuwenhuys wrote the group's manifesto, a document that has become one of the signal texts on postwar Western European art. In it he proclaimed that the act of creative expression offers mental and spiritual enrichment more important than the work itself. He envisioned a new society in which the artistic expression of emotions, yearnings and ambitions was radically democratized and widely shared. Cobra abandoned the art establishment in favor of freedom and experimentation, seeking a return to a primitive state of artistic innocence. For Constant, Cobra meant a complete integration of art with life, a "living art." He wrote, "The masses, brought up with aesthetic conventions imposed from without, are yet unaware of their
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 10, 2015
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