NieuwsRechts Archives - Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst

The Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen celebrates 75 years of Cobra (1948-1951) with an extensive programme in 2023 featuring many international loans. The museum’s programming is based on the ideas of the Cobra movement and focuses on experimentation, free thinking and polyphony.

This autumn, we are showing Cosmogony as a prelude to the jubilee year.

Zinsou – an African Art Collection
7 October 2022 – 8 January 2023 

For the first time, the Zinsou Collection will be shown in the Netherlands. With a selection of over 130 works of art (sculptures, photographs, paintings and installations), the first floor of the museum will be full of exhilarating art by 37 artists of different generations from the African continent and France. The museum follows the example of a number of Cobra artists in their fascination with African art. 

This exhibition is a prelude to our celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Cobra art movement (1948 – 1951). The Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen programmes on the basis of the ideas of the Cobra movement and is devoted to experimentation, free thinking and diversity.

Emo de Medeiros, Surtenture #4 (… and the Dreams of Thunder Permeate the String of Inflections)[Overspanning #4 (… en de dromen van donder doordringen de keten van verbuigingen)], 2015, Zinsou Collection, courtesy of the artist c/o Pictoright 2022
We Kiss the Earth
Danish modern art 1934-1948
27 January – 14 May 2023 

The anniversary year of Cobra 75 kicks off with a triptych of Danish modern art. The Danish artists who founded Cobra in 1948 had a great influence on the much younger Dutch and Belgian Cobra members. Developments in Danish modern art from the 1930s and 1940s take centre stage with themes such as sexual freedom, politics, provocation, experimentation and spontaneity. These developments would later have such a profound influence on Cobra. This is the first large survey outside Denmark that presents around 100 masterpieces by more than 25 artists. 

Egill Jacobsen, Rød maske, 1943, olieverf op doek, 85 x 65 cm, collectie Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst Amstelveen, c/o Pictoright 2022

Ferlov & Mancoba
27 January – 14 May 2023 

A presentation on the artist couple Sonja Ferlov (Denmark) and Ernest Mancoba (South Africa) complements this retrospective. Both were involved in founding the Cobra movement in Denmark. Their interracial relationship was unique at the time. They each had their own international artistic practice. In 2019, Centre Pompidou presented two major retrospectives of their oeuvre; a selection will be exhibited in Amstelveen. 

Becoming Ovartaci
The liberating lives of Ovartaci
27 January – 14 May 2023 

Ovartaci’s intriguing work forms the final part of the Danish triptych. Ovartaci – born Louis Marcussen – spent most of her life in a psychiatric hospital. Transformation is the central theme in her life and work. The exhibition of paintings, drawings and sculptures is an ode to the imagination and inspiration of this Danish artist who died in 1985 at the age of 91. 

Ovartaci, Den kinesiske formel

Freedom without Borders
Cobra 75
2 June – 8 October 2023 

In 2023, the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the international Cobra movement (1948 – 1951) by bringing together the work of Appel, Constant, Corneille and Jorn with that of Picasso, Beckmann, Basquiat, Munch and contemporary artists such as Jonathan Meese and Cecily Brown. 

It shows the universal character of Cobra and its close kinship with the free, expressive working methods of artists throughout the years. With around 150 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photographs and ceramics, the public is invited to compare the work of a large number of Cobra artists and find connections with related earlier, contemporaneous or later artists.   

Karel Appel, Le Regard, 1950, loan Collection ABN AMRO ©Pictoright 2022

Back to the Origin
2 June – 17 September 2023 

The year 2023 also marks the 50th anniversary of the death of one of the most famous artists of the 20th century and this will be widely commemorated in France and Spain. The Cobra Museum is also dedicating a special exhibition to Picasso. In his career, Picasso always returned to his childhood and his cultural background, in which dance and theatre played a major role. Moreover, he was a source of inspiration for many Cobra artists. “Every child is an artist” is one of his most famous statements. This careful selection of drawings, ceramics and etchings shows the hand of the master who was never afraid to experiment. 

Pablo Picasso,

Anton Corbijn
20 October 2023 – 28 January 2024 

In MOØDe, photographer and filmmaker Anton Corbijn presents photographs from his extensive oeuvre in which he explores the crossover between photography and the world of fashion – in the broadest sense of the word. The exhibition, previously on show in Belgium, contains around 200 photographs, including the now iconic portraits Corbijn made of Kate Moss, Tom Waits, Alexander McQueen and Naomi Campbell.  

SUPREME new york 2017 ©anton corbijn

Special thanks to
The anniversary programme Cobra 75 was made possible by our partners and generous donors. We would particularly like to thank the City of Amstelveen, VriendenLoterij, Trebbe, BPD, Rabobank and the Cobra Business Club.  


Cobra Magazine #5 Constant 101

Wednesday 7 December

From left to right: Zippora Elders, Antonio José Guzman, Antonis Pittas en Kim van der Horst.

In the exhibition Constant 101: The Future Can Be Humance, 40 works by Constant are shown together with new works by Antonio José Guzamn and a new installation by Antonis Pittas. The exhibition is part of the year-long programme Constant 101, in which young and contemporary makers, thinkers and partners from all over the Netherlands respond to Constant’s work and ideas with new work and projects.

Director of Fondation Constant, Kim van der Horst, spoke with Zippora Elders; curator-at-large, artists Antonis Pittas and Antonio José Guzman about the recently opened exhibition at the Cobra Museum.

You can read the full interview here.


In the summer of 2022, guest curator Abdelkader Benali (1975) will fill the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen with Moroccan art. For the first time in the Netherlands, some 40 Moroccan artists will be brought together to provide an overview of the development of Moroccan modern art from the country’s independence in 1956 to the present day. With artists such as Hamid el Kanbouhi (1976), Nour-Eddine Jarram (1956), Khalil Nemmaoui (1967) and Wafae Ahalouch el Keriasti (1978).

The independence in 1956 also marked the birth of Moroccan modern art. A renewed self-awareness among Moroccan artists arose. By now, a new young and exciting generation of artists has taken its place on the international stage. Abdelkader Benali’s passion for the visual arts, but also for ‘the other story about Morocco’ can be experienced in the Cobra Museum. Benali takes the visitor on a journey through his personal observations. Around 80 works on themes such as decolonisation, spirituality, gender and migration are brought together in the museum galleries.

Mutual influences
Artists like Matisse and Delacroix were inspired by Morocco in their artistic practice and the Moroccan influences are clearly visible in their works. In their search for new forms, Moroccan artists, in turn, were inspired by such movements as Bauhaus in Western Europe and Pop Art in the United States.

From past to present
The Djema-el-Fna, Marrakech’s world-famous square, has always been the domain of storytellers. On this square, a group of young artists from Casablanca organised the first open-air exhibition in 1969 as a protest against the fossilised museum system. The Moroccan modern artists wanted to stay close to the Moroccan people and tell their stories. In the younger generation, too, we see the effect of this desire to tell stories about major themes such as migration, sexuality and spirituality, and in doing so they do not hesitate to challenge taboos. Whether the artists from this young generation have attended art school or are self-taught, they instinctively find their way to the old forms, the new forms of the current and future age.
The start of the modern movement in Morocco is closely linked to the literary magazine Souffles, in which the artists were introduced. There is a clear understanding that the art movement comprises more than just visual art, it also includes other disciplines such as poetry and design.

Museum bazaar
The Cobra Museum will be transformed into one big Moroccan bazaar with food, dance, theatre, poetry, film, urban culture, sports and fashion. The Cobra Museum will also host the Iftar, the meal consumed by Muslims right after sunset during the fasting month of Ramadan. Various groups are invited to express their critical, evocative or cheerful celebration of Moroccan art and culture.

Literary publication
The exhibition will be accompanied by Abdelkader Benali’s new book, published by De Arbeiderspers, which gives a narrative account of his research into 75 years of Moroccan modern art. The book is a personal reflection of Benali on the themes and his observations.

About Abdelkader Benali
Abdelkader Benali (1975) was born in Morocco. He is one of the best-known writers in the Netherlands. His work, which is published internationally, was awarded the E. du Perron Prize in 2010 and the prestigious Gouden Ganzenveer in 2020. In one of his novels, he delves into the history of Matisse’s stay in Tangier. Abdelkader Benali draws inspiration from the imagination of Moroccan artists and collects work by young artists. Besides being a writer, Benali is a programme maker, historian, speaker and guest curator. His first contact with Moroccan art was in the family home, when his mother sang her Riffin izran songs while cleaning, songs that sounded exotic and mysterious to him; the accumulated images they conjured up of “my head bobbing in the sea, no fisherman to catch it” created a surreal image in his mind.

Morocco and Cobra
The birth of Moroccan modernism coincides with the birth of the Cobra movement in post-war Europe. Cobra artists liked to let themselves be inspired by non-European art and oriental calligraphy. They celebrated freedom. The light-hearted naivety with which a new era was ushered in can also be found among the Moroccan artists of that generation. Morocco had just been liberated from the Spanish-French protectorate, and especially artists without a formal education created a colourful, vibrant movement. There were also direct influences: Jilali Gharbaoui, one of the pioneers of the modern movement in Morocco, was inspired by Karel Appel and they met in 1962.

The Cobra Museum in Amstelveen actively links the collection and history of Cobra to contemporary artists, modern art movements and current events. In its programming, the museum pays attention to non-Western art within a context of societal topicality.

“The Cobra Museum is celebrating 70 years of Moroccan modern art next year with The other story, Moroccan Modernism from 1950 to the present. This story is told by the writer Abdelkader Benali, who is an avid art lover. It seems more people have discovered Moroccan art, because recently the exhibition The Moroccan Trilogy 1950-2020 opened at the Reina Sofia in Madrid. We are very much looking forward to the collaboration with Abdelkader and the undoubtedly magnificent result that will also give rise to a festive summer full of activities and events for everyone,” says Stefan van Raay, initiator of the exhibition at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art.


The other story by Abdelkader Benali
Morrocan Modernism from 1950 to the present
15 April – 18 September 2022