Sunday, March 23, 2014


Following yesterday's post on Lucebert, another post on a Dutch artist and CoBra member: Constant. 
Constant Anton Nieuwenhuys (1920 – 2005), better known as Constant, was a Dutch painter, sculptor, graphic artist, author, musician and architect.
As a young child Constant drew passionately and showed great talent. He read literature with a special preference for poetry and played musical instruments. During his teenage years he learned to sing and to read music while in the church choir at a Jesuit school. In his later years, greatly inspired by gypsy music, he only played improvised music. He played guitar, violin and at 45 years of age also mastered playing the cimbalon.
Constant painted his first oil painting, De Emmaüsgangers, at age sixteen. It depicted the revelation of Jesus to two of his followers in Emmaus. With no money to buy materials he painted this painting on a jute sugar bag with pigments he had bought from a house painter.[3] Many of Constant’s early drawings and paintings are religiously inspired, due to his Jesuit schooling. Yet at the age of twenty Constant turned his back on Catholicism.
n 1946 Constant traveled to Paris for the first time where he met the young Danish painter Asger Jorn, forming the basis for CoBrA. July 1948 Constant founded Reflex Experimentele Groep in Holland  with Corneille(well known for his peaked beret), Karel Appel and his brother Jan Nieuwenhuys.
After Us, Liberty 1949
During the last months of his life, Thomas Doebele and Maarten Schmidt made a documentary film about him entitled Constant, Avant Le Départ ("Before Departure"), which features unique footage of Constant working on his last oil painting Le Piège (The Trap).

1 comment:

  1. When I was fifteen or sixteen and unaware of the importance of Cobra, I met Constants Project of New Babylon what inspired me to built my own sculptures of iron wire. ( It is a plesure to know that he is a baret wearer to!