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Eugène Brands (1913-2002) was a Dutch painter, an early member of the COBRA avant-garde art movement. In 1946, Eugène Brands participated in the group exhibition “Young Painters” in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

In 1948, he became a member of the Dutch experimental group REFLEX, which later, with regard to a number of artists, evolved into CoBrA. His meeting with Willem Sandberg, former director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, leads to the exhibition in which CoBrA presents itself in the Netherlands for the first time in 1949. Brands leaves CoBrA a year after its foundation in 1949 to retreat to his studio for the next 10 years and be inspired by ‘the world of the child’. He discovered a special technique for this, namely oil paint on paper.

From 1967 he taught Free Painting at the Royal Academy for Modern Art and Design in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Brands has had numerous one-man exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad. Important retrospective exhibitions were in 1969 in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, in 1988 in the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, in 1990 in the Beyerd in Breda, and in 1997 and 2001 in the CoBrA Museum for Modern Art in Amstelveen.

Eugène Brands lived and worked in Amsterdam until 1974, when he moved into a summer residence in Nunspeet on the Hoge Veluwe. There, in the silence of nature, he felt the mystery of the cosmos stronger than ever. In the beauty, the colours of crocuses and violets as well as the reflection of the pond in the garden, the mystery lies locked up for him.

In the South of France, in Cotiginac, where Brands had a summerhouse by the end of his life, Centre d’Art la Falaise is making a hommage to the artists, showing works of all these different periods.

“A painting must come into being. I do not make it. I am an antenna. The form is not predetermined or contemplated. I begin by painting thin areas of colour or by observing what happens to the paint and then I act on it. The creation of a painting is an almost autonomous event. It requires a medium. That is the painter.”

~ Eugène Brands



Centre d’art La Falaise, 5 Cours Gambetta, Cotignac (VAR), France

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