Corneille’s 100th birthday will be celebrated from 3 July 2022 onwards in the Cobra Museum. He started his artistry searching, looking at other artists and inspired by nature and people around him.
During the reconstruction, Corneille and his fellow Cobra artists focused on liberating art. It was time for new subjects, new materials and a new way of painting. Corneille painted spontaneously and improvising in which drawn lines grew into shapes and figures. He created an optimistic utopian world inhabited by cheerful fantasy figures.
A trip to the Hoggar Mountains in North Africa is a new source of inspiration. Corneille translates the dry, cracked landscape into increasingly abstract canvases with round shapes and a powerful interplay of lines in earthy tones. Corneille would make many inspiring journeys, which translated to the canvas, but Africa will be a lasting source of inspiration for him.
At the end of the sixties, the narrative character returned to Corneille’s work. With a poetic visual language he placed figuration, such as woman, bird and celestial bodies in a paradisiacal, colorful world. Using screen printing techniques, he reached countless Dutch households in the eighties and nineties in the form of cups, pens, ties, but also by means of a modified hot-air balloon and tram. This commercialization was frowned upon by the art world. For the many spectators, however, the recognizable and colorful character of Corneille’s work often served as an introduction to the same art world.