The credo of the Cobra art movement, which emerged after the end of World War II, has been described fittingly by Julien Michel Leiris. Michel Leiris was one of France’s great writers and a friend of Francis Bacon, Giacometti, and Picasso, of whom he said: The human being in Picasso’s art is the man of today from a bleeding reality in a ragged age, and a reality that befits a ragged painting.
The Cobra artist Lucebert works with a ragged reality, as did many of his friends in the movement, which is now part of history. Cobra arose as a reaction to World War II and to a Europe that had been torn to pieces. Lucebert contributed many of the expressions that make the Cobra group still so vibrant and nuanced today.
The historical significance of the Cobra movement is now growing increasingly clear and distinct. It presents us with a number of artists who have gained status and influence, much as was the case with other great historical movements: Golden Age artists, Impressionists, Expressionists, Surrealists, and more recently the figures of Pop Art.
I have followed my father, Willy Omme, in his practice of always displaying Cobra artists alongside contemporary artists. This practice has made our gallery into a leading exhibition space for viewing and acquiring art from the Cobra movement. Lucebert’s first exhibition in Scandinavia was displayed in our gallery in 1969. With the help of Lucebert’s family, I have succeeded in collecting 13 important paintings, never before shown outside the Netherlands, from one of the Cobra movement’s distinctive artists.