cover image Cobra


Rizzoli, Willemijn Stokvis, William Stokvis. Rizzoli International Publications, $24.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0925-7

In the years immediately following World War II, the short-lived Cobra movement, comprising mainly Dutch, Belgian and Danish artists, unleashed a torrent of primal imagery and violent color. The best-known Cobra paintersKarel Appel, Pierre Alechinsky, Asger Jornexalted spontaneity in childlike canvases. This excellent retrospective by a Dutch art critic shows how individual members of the Cobra group gave ``primitive expressionism'' a personal twist. Sculptor Henry Heerup hewed granite into archetypal symbols of love and death. Anton Rooskens reworked the idiom of primitive African art. In ``found objects'' and ink splatterings, Eugene Brands sought out the magical element in all things. Equally impressive are works by Theo Wolvecamp, Sonja Ferlov, Christian Dotremont and others. Pictures by French, English, German and Swedish camp followers round out the survey. It's easy to see why Cobra's liberating effect on postwar art has continued up to the present. (June)