Composition au fond orange 1991
- About the artworkProvenance: private collection Portugal
Literature: Ed Wingen, Lambert Tegenbosch en Dolf Welling, 'Eugène Brands: Schilderijen', Amsterdam 2001, pag. 177 (colour image).
At the time when Appel and Constant were still at art school, Brands was making spontaneous Surrealist drawings by smudging, flicking and pouring ink on paper. In 1946 he participated in the ‘Jonge Schilders' exhibition at the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum. Through his fellow exhibitors, Appel, Corneille and Rooskens, he became involved with the Nederlandse Experimentele Groep, from which was formed the CoBrA movement in 1948. What united these painters was a strong desire to express themselves freely and spontaneously. After a period of painting typical Cobra motifs like mythological creatures and fish, from 1961 on Brandt began working in a style that became known as Lyrical Abstraction, painting large areas of colour that appear to be made of an ephemeral substance
- About the artist
Eugène Brands was born on January 15, 1913 in Amsterdam. From 1931 to 1934 he was educated at the Amsterdamse Kunstnijverheidsschool in advertising design. After working for several months as an advertising designer at various agencies, he opted for visual artistry. As such, he is self-taught.
In 1948 he became a member of the Dutch Experimental group REFLEX, which later, for a number of artists, culminated in CoBrA. His meeting with Willem Sandberg, former director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, leads to the exhibition in which CoBrA presents itself for the first time in the Netherlands in 1949. Brands leaves CoBrA a year after it was founded in 1949, to retreat to his studio for the next 10 years and to be inspired by 'the world of the child'. He discovers a special technique for this, namely oil paint on paper.
Since 1967 he has been a teacher of Free Painting at the Royal Academy of Modern Art and Design in 's-Hertogenbosch. Brands has had numerous one-man exhibitions at home and abroad. Important retrospective exhibitions are 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 of Modern Art in Amstelveen.
Eugène Brands lived and worked in Amsterdam, until in 1974 he moved into a summer residence in Nunspeet on the Hoge Veluwe. There in the silence of nature he feels the mystery of the cosmos more strongly than ever. In the beauty, the colors of crocuses and violets as well as the reflection of the pond in the garden, the mystery lies hidden for him.
In 1993 Brands decides to stop painting on canvas. It has become too much physical for him. After that time he limited himself to his beloved gouaches on paper, because the gouache technique lends itself best to the freedom he wants to achieve.
In 1999 he exchanged his studio in Nunspeet for a studio in the south of France, which he unfortunately only had a short time to enjoy.
Eugène Brands died at home on January 15, 2002, the day on which he celebrated his 89th birthday.