July 3, 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of Corneille‘s birth - an occasion for us to honour the work and significance of the Dutch painter and to dedicate him an exhibition that shows his work in the framework of his fellow artists of the CoBrA group.
Through the mutual inspiration in the CoBrA group, which Corneille founded in 1948 together with Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, Christian Dotremont and other young artists, early works were created that bear witness to a strong spirit of optimism in the post-war period as well as an extraordinary enthusiasm for experimentation. After CoBrA was disbanded in 1951, Corneille soon embarked on his own artistic path and developed an individual formal language that initially leaned towards abstraction, but ultimately always remained representational. From 1949, he travelled to Tunisia and North Africa, where he pursued an intensive engagement with the African landscape, cultural heritage and indigenous art. His impressions resonate in a distinct imagery, with compositions of linear patterns featuring a subtle arrangement of earthy tones and few accents of colour, reminiscent of maps and city plans. In his figurative works of the 1960s and 1970s, he combines lines and surfaces in an intuitive and equally lyrical manner; an intense expressiveness and pronounced use of colour are characteristic of this creative period. The artist develops a distinctive formal language that can be understood and read intersubjectively, sensorially perceptible and universal in its symbolism in every culture while offering the viewer different levels of meaning.
Common ideas, but also major differences in their artistic conception emerge in the juxtaposition of Corneille‘s works with those of his artist friends Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Lucebert, Asger Jorn, Theo Wolvekamp as well as other members of this particular avant-garde group.
Visit here the 3D exhibition
Corneille & CoBrA
Check out the introductory video on the exhibition
Born in 1922, Guillaume Cornelis Beverloo - better known under his pseudonym Corneille - was one of the founding members of the CoBrA artist’s group. Inspirited by the dynamics and style of CoBrA, Corneille received an impetus for his own artistic development, which was largely driven by his pleasure to experimentalize. After the group’s dissolution in 1951, the artist’s former compositions, largely inspired by Paul Klee and Joan Miró, increasingly become more abstract, until they find their way back to figuration in the 1960s.
Travelling across Europe, North Africa and the Sahara region during the 1940s and 1950s, the North African culture, landscapes and art become a major source of inspiration for the artist and can be discerned recurrently in his work up until his latest artistic periods. In Jour d’Été, Maghrebian shades are skillfully reflected; Corneille’s interpretation of landscapes pervades the densely colored, vibrant composition. Embedded in a sandy background, the painting evokes images of desert scenery with, fields, streets and waters from an aerial perspective. The composition - rich in contrast - oscillates between fields of color and sketchy brushstrokes. In spite of the strong notion of abstraction, Jour d’Été, does already indicate the artists’ later figurative approach such as his clear and pure color structure.