As the typographic alternations in the group name "CoBrA" already hint, this is an abbreviation of the city names Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam.
"CoBrA" was formed by an avant-garde group of artists who advocated a simplifying of art. From the influences of expressionism, abstraction and surrealism, they worked for a folk art that would also be represented by subconscious doodles and children’s art. In the group’s manifesto, a rejection of classical art is correspondingly expressed; CoBrA turned at the same time against the bourgeoisie and its closed-mindedness. Although the founding members – as the name CoBrA suggests – came from Northern countries, the group was actually founded in Paris on November 8, 1948. The group "CoBrA" understood itself in this sense also as an alternative to the Ecole de Paris. The members of CoBrA were politically engaged and wanted to exercise international influence. Under the leadership of Asger Jorn, ten editions of the international journal CoBrA also appeared. However, it was first because of the two large exhibits in Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1949 and in the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lüttich in 1951 that the artist group succeeded finally in breaking through. But the public was upset by CoBrA’s works, and at the exhibit in Lüttich there were even riots: after the unveiling of a wall mural by Karel Appel in the cafeteria of the Amsterdam City Hall, there were such vehement protests that the work was not shown again for ten years. The artist group CoBrA dissolved in 1951 when two of its artists, Jorn and Dotremont, became ill.
Other members of CoBrA are: Asger Jorn, Constant, Christian Dotremont, Joseph Noiret, Karel Appel and Corneille, Pierre Alechinsky, Eugène Brands, Lucebert, Anton Rooskens.