Corneille (Luik 1922 – Auvers sur Oise, France, 2010) was a COBRA artist. Although largely autodidact, he still followed art courses at the Amsterdam Academy, between 1940 and 1942. In 1946 he held his first exhibition in Groningen. Initially heavily influenced by the work of Picasso, he broke away from it in 1948 and joined the Cobra movement; he is co-founder, together with, among others, Karel Appel, Jan Nieuwenhuys and his brother Constant Nieuwenhuys.
In 1950 he moved from Amsterdam to Paris. Then he traveled several times to other parts of the world: North Africa, North America, the Antilles and South America. These journeys largely determine the nature of his work.
Corneille was best known for changing the conservative Dutch art world in the early 1950s, making modern art not only acceptable, but embraceable as well. From 1960 he fell back on figurative art. He placed familiar subjects — birds, cats, women and landscapes — in mythological and often childlike contexts, imbuing them with spontaneity and bright, sensual reds. He himself claimed that painting is not a hobby or work, but rather a calling.
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