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CoBrA is a merging of three city names - Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. These were the home towns of the artists that formed the group in 1948 that included the painters Karel Appel, Jean Dubuffet, Alechinsky, Jean Atlan, Constant Nieuwenhys, Cornelis van Beverloo and Asger Yorn. Their main goal was to develop an expressive, uninhibited style of painting that denied the rational, intellectual drive that could be seen in the art of the period. They were intensely dynamic and their paintings are characterized by wild sweeping brushstrokes, a lack of the restrictive, formal shapes and imagery and a very personal, animated use of paint. The end result is a chaotic mix of colors, shapes, scenes of Nordic folklore and legend and figures of ugly, malformed pixies and other wood spirits. The desired effect on the audience was shock and disquiet. They are sometimes referred to as the European version of the American “Action painting” that included Jackson Pollock.
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