The Cobra Movement in Postwar Europe: Reanimating Art, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Cobra Movement in Postwar Europe

Reanimating Art, 1st Edition

By Karen Kurczynski


320 pages | 25 Color Illus. | 39 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138490840
pub: 2020-07-13
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This book examines the art of Cobra, a network of poets and artists from Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam (1948–51). Although the name stood for the organizers’ home cities, the Cobra artists hailed from countries in Europe, Africa, and the United States.

This book investigates how a group of struggling young artists attempted to reinvent the international avant-garde after the devastation of World War II, to create artistic experiments capable of facing the challenges of postwar society. It explores how Cobra’s experimental, often collective art works and publications relate to broader debates in postwar Europe about the use of images to commemorate violent events, the possibility of free expression in an art world constrained by Cold War politics, the breakdown of primitivism in an era of colonial independence, and the importance of spontaneity in a society increasingly dominated by the mass media.

This book will be of interest to scholars in art history, twentieth century modern art, avant-garde arts, and European history.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Reanimating Art; 1. Human Animals; 2. Surrealism Into Cobra; 3. War, Memory, and Renewal; 4. Expression for All; 5. Coda: New Networks

About the Author

Karen Kurczynski is Associate Professor, History of Art and Architecture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Art History

Routledge Research in Art History is our home for the latest scholarship in the field of art history. The series publishes research monographs and edited collections, covering areas including art history, theory, and visual culture. These high-level books focus on art and artists from around the world and from a multitude of time periods. By making these studies available to the worldwide academic community, the series aims to promote quality art history research.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Folk & Outsider Art
ART / History / General
ART / African
ART / American / General
ART / European
ART / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
ART / History / Contemporary (1945-)
ART / Art & Politics
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Military / World War II
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
HISTORY / Africa / South / Republic of South Africa
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism