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Cobra Museum of Modern Art Amsterdam Art Museums

When the Cobra Museum opened in 1995 it had one clear objective in mind: to exhibit the works of one of the 20th century's most influential forces in modern art - the CoBrA avant-garde movement. Active from 1949 to 1952, the Cobra group focused on semiabstract art characterised by vivacious colour, outlandish spirit and ideals rooted in American action painting. The name CoBrA was coined by Belgian painter Christian Dotremont (himself a participant) from initials of the founding members' home cities: Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam.

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Situated in Amstelveen, a southern suburb of Amsterdam, the museum is easily accessible from the city centre, and can be reached in half an hour by tram. A refined, minimalist construction designed by renowned architect Wim Quist, it's regarded as one of the country's most beautiful buildings both inside and out. Karel Appel was one of the movement's prominent figures, and his distinctive fountain structure greets patrons at the museum's entrance. Once inside, the light-infused ground floor dictates a crash course in CoBrA art, displaying some of the essential pieces that brought it such international interest. Works by Appel, Eugene Brands, Lucebert, Theo Wolvecamp, Constant, Anton Rooskens, Asger Jorn and Henry Heerup feature - all adhering to the CoBrA doctrine - all noticeably individual. In addition, paintings from CoBrA's sister movements, Vrij Beelden and Creatie, are also included in the permanent collection. The actual pieces on show alternate on a rota system, so there'll be something new to see each time you visit. Temporary exhibitions of other post-World War II modern and contemporary art also come and go.

Sunday's the best day to bring the kids along. They can enjoy the Children's Studio, the workshop and the free children's tour (although there's still an entrance fee to the museum itself). In the workshop they'll learn the first steps towards becoming a modern artist; and the tour proves that children can have a great time in a gallery! In the studio they're furnished with all kinds of drawing materials, which can be carried with them throughout the rest of the building. They then get to put their newfound skills into practice.
You won't be surprised to learn that a combination of a full palette of paints and a child's imagination can result in some interesting works to say the least.

Separate from the main gallery is the Cobra shop, which can be entered on its own free of charge. Here you'll find an extensive range of graphic works for sale; such as lithographs, etchings and silkscreen prints. From time to time it also stocks original pieces by Cobra artists... but expect these to be a little more pricey!

The museum has a refined cafe-restaurant on the grounds; selling coffee, soft drinks, pastries and lunches. Opening hours are 9am to 5pm (Tuesday to Friday) and 10am to 5pm on weekends. The museum itself is open 11am to 5pm (Tuesday to Sunday).

If you feel like exploring Amstelveen a little more thoroughly, you'll find that the Cobra Museum is in a convenient location at the entrance to the city's shopping district.

More info on the Cobra Museum

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