Corneille, who died in 2010, would have turned 100 this year. This prompted the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen to organize an exhibition about his person and work under the title Corneille 100.
Corneille started his artistic career searching, looking at other artists and inspired by nature and people around him.
Spontaneous and improvising
During the reconstruction period, Corneille and his fellow Cobra artists focused on liberating art. It was time for new subjects, new materials and a new way of painting. Corneille painted spontaneously and improvising, in which drawn lines grew into shapes and figures. He created an optimistic utopian world, inhabited by cheerful fantasy figures.
A trip to the Hoggar Mountains in North Africa was a new source of inspiration. Corneille translated the dry, cracked landscape into increasingly abstract canvases with round shapes and a powerful interplay of lines in earthy tones. Corneille would make many inspiring journeys, which translated to the canvas, but Africa would be a lasting source of inspiration for him.
Corneille, Fête Nocturne, 1950
Oil on canvas, 93 x 104 cm
Private collection, long-term loan Cobra Museum
At the end of the sixties, the narrative character returned to Corneille’s work. With a poetic visual language he placed figuration, such as women and birds, in a paradisiacal, colourful world. Through his prints and multiples (mainly screenprints and lithographs) and by having objects such as cups and saucers, pens and neckties printed with his cheerful motifs, he penetrated countless Dutch households in the eighties and nineties. The art world looked at this commercialization with a slanted eye, but for many, the recognizable and colourful character of Corneille’s work formed an introduction to the same world.
The exhibition can be seen until Sunday 20 November 2022 in the Cobra Museum. In addition, the exhibition Cobra and North Africa still runs in the Cobra Museum, also until 20 November 2022.
Cobra Museum for Modern Art
Sandbergplein 1, 1181 ZX Amstelveen
+31 (0)20 547 50 50
Text and image based on public information Cobra Museum.