February 28 - May 29, 2024
Lucebert - 100 Years of Light
DIE GALERIE, Frankfurt am Main

To mark the 100th birthday of Lubertus Jacobus Swaanswijk (1924-1994), better known as Lucebert, DIE GALERIE is dedicating an anniversary exhibition to him, honoring the life and work of this important artist.


A prominent member of the CoBrA group, Lucebert was particularly known for his contribution to abstract art and poetry. He found inspiration in folk, children's, and primitive art. Even before he turned to painting in his mid-twenties, Lucebert expressed his malaise primarily through poetry. However, pictorial language soon came to the fore, and his work, characterised by spontaneous and revolutionary qualities, was to have a lasting influence on the Dutch art landscape. His brief involvement in CoBrA was nevertheless of fundamental importance to him as an artist-poet, as it gave both his poetry and his painting great freedom, spontaneity, and a love of experimentation. His work is characterised by deliberately awkward human forms and fantasy creatures. The psychological aspect of his work is particularly evident in the apparent dialogues between the figures in his imaginary worlds. The myths he created in his paintings and poems are rooted in the human world and full of literary allusions. In the 1960s, he worked particularly in the childlike CoBrA style, but this quickly gave way to a caricatural, demonic view of the world, which he continued to represent until his death in 1994. While Lucebert's mode of expression changed throughout his career, despite experimenting with different styles and forms, he retained an unmistakable signature characterised by contrasting colours and spontaneous brushwork. As a contemporary witness, his art was political, social and autobiographical and often called for revolution, reassessment, and new beginnings, in the spirit of the CoBrA avant-garde.



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Highlight of the month

Roberto Matta

Oil on canvas
140 x 200 cm

Roberto Matta, born in 1911 in Chile, is one of the most important and idiosyncratic artists of the 20th century. After completing his architectural studies in his homeland, Matta came to Paris in 1933, where he worked in the studio of Le Corbusier and quickly established contacts within the Surrealist circle. In 1938, he participated in the International Exhibition of Surrealism and, like many of his fellow painters, went into exile in New York in 1939.

Like André Masson and Max Ernst, he exerted significant influence on the evolving American Abstract Expressionism. In his paintings of the 1940s, Matta created interior landscapes – "inscapes" – featuring apocalyptic and cosmological panoramas of crystalline transparency. The work method that he developed at the time involved merging the Surrealist automatic structures and the color progressions of the background with a thus inspired and resultant apparitional, non-concrete scenery.

After World War Two ended and he returned from exile, settling first in Rome and then Tarquinia, Matta's pictorial panoramas increasingly featured anthropomorphic machine organisms populating a technoid environmental sphere. Matta's artistic exploration of the rapid advances in science and his open political and philosophical positions led to increasingly complex, large-format, and epically expansive compositions. Matta died in 2002 in Italy.