Cobra – A Pictorial and Poetic Revolution
A magnificent introduction to the Cobra art movement
With French as its working language, Cobra was pretty much the last truly European movement within Modernism. The group’s anarchic story is not just an important strand in art history — it remains as lively as ever and has inspired all sorts of artists who were never directly involved with Cobra. The work bequeathed to us by Karel Appel, Pierre Alechinsky, Constant, Corneille and other kindred spirits is as fascinating as ever, both raw and confronting, poetic and moving. It is with the same spirit of artistic joyfulness and freedom that this book showcases the masterpieces of Cobra art belonging to The Phoebus Foundation.
With text contributions by Paul Huvenne, Johan Pas, Hilde de Bruijn, Laura Stamps, Piet Thomas, Piet Boyens and Naomi Meulemans. The preface was written by Karine Huts-Van den Heuvel.
Fools & Folly in Flemish Art
In praise of folly: on the fool and jester in Flemish art
According to medieval theologians, faith is a deadly serious business. Humour and virtue are irreconcilable, because laughter is uncontrollable and escapes the control of reason. A modest smile is permitted. But laughing loudly, grinning and grimacing: these are the playing field of the devil – just as pernicious as other uncontrollable urges, such as physical love or the addiction of the gambler. That is the domain of the peasant or fool.
In the late Middle Ages, every right-thinking town-dweller knew the difference between the peasant and the fool. Peasants are innocently gullible, primitive, throwing themselves into feasting, gorging, drinking and sex. The peasant is the antithesis of the cultivated urbanite, who fastidiously controls his urges – and who therefore above all must not laugh too loudly. Only during Innocents Day parties or Shrove Tuesday celebrations is it permitted for urban partygoers to play the fool and to show their ‘underbelly’.
In contrast to the peasant, the fool escapes the existing order. He holds up a mirror to the self-declared wise citizens, because ‘the fool reveals the truth through laughter’, even though it may be hidden between piss and shit, sex and snot. It is for precisely this reason that Erasmus, in his In Praise of Folly writes not as himself but through the persona of Folly, a broad back behind which the wise person can hide when he denounces social problems. Laughter thus alters the world.
In this context, the fool and irony became important motifs in medieval art, especially in the Low Countries. This original art book is illustrated with dozens of top-quality works by Flemish masters from worldwide collections.
Larry Silver is professor of art history at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of the monograph Hieronymus Bosch. He is renowned worldwide as one of the most important art historians of our age.
With an introduction by Dr. Katharina Van Cauteren, art historian and chief of staff at The Phoebus Foundation.
3500 Years of Textile Art
A standard book on the history of ancient textile art. For the first time, it presents the highlights of a world-renowned textile collection of The Phoebus Foundation: more than 300 fabrics and textile-related objects (jewellery, combs, hairpins, etc.).
Art from Latin America
Nowhere does the geographical diversity of a continent become more apparent than in the collection of 20th-century Latin American art from The Phoebus Foundation. Discover masterpieces by Latin American masters such as Joaquin Torres-Garcia and José Gurvich.
The Birth of Capitalism
From their own backgrounds, personalities and life experiences, entrepreneur Fernand Huts and art historian Katharina van Cauteren write their own story about the same subject: the Golden Age of the Southern Netherlands in the Middle Ages. In their own style and without any consultation with each other, they give their own vision on the development of capitalism, the medieval world in which art, industry, agriculture, trade and finance were established.
This book has been published on the occasion of the exhibition The Birth of Capitalism. Golden Age of the Southern Netherlands (2016).
Politics as Painting
Hendrick de Clerck, court artist for the Flemish Archdukes Albrecht and Isabella, masterfully developed a visual propaganda avant la lettre. This monograph places his impressive career at the beginning of the seventeenth century in its context.
In many respects, the Middle Ages in the southern Low Countries were more modern than the widely acclaimed Renaissance. In this book, young researchers sweep you off on a journey through these fascinating ‘golden times’ of dynamic cities, independent women, international networks of trade and commerce, organized workers and world-class artists. The economic history of the Middle Ages is described from the innovative perspective of various groups in society and illustrated with artworks from the rich collection of The Phoebus Foundation.
Coming Home brings to vivid life the broad cultural context of the Flemish belle époque and the years between the twentieth century’s two world wars. It’s a book about Symbolism, Impressionism and Expressionism, and a forgotten piece of art history. But above all, Coming Home is a story about roots and the search for a sense of belonging in a rapidly changing world – a quest as relevant today as it was then.
This book has been published on the occasion of the exhibition Rooted (2017).
Reynaert the Fox
The medieval legend about the famous Flemish scoundrel ‘Reynaert the fox’ is a literary classic. Discover the adventures of the sly Reynaert and his unfortunate companions in this 21st century retelling.
This book has been published on the occasion of the Fox Hunt exhibition (2018).
The Bold and the Beautiful
The Bold and the Beautiful is an appointment with history: a meeting through the art of portrait painting with men and women from bygone centuries. This book takes masterpieces from the collection of The Phoebus Foundation and outlines the broad context in which they came into being, peeling back levels of meaning like the layers of an onion.
This book was published on the occasion of the exhibition The Bold and the Beautiful (2020).
Crazy about Dymphna
For more than three years a team of international experts worked on the restoration of the Dymphna altarpiece from the collection of The Phoebus Foundation. In the book Crazy about Dymphna we shed new light on this unique artwork. Discover the exceptional stories, forgotten for centuries, that unfolded beneath those layers of dust and dirt.
This book has been published on the occasion of the exhibition Crazy about Dymphna in Tallinn (2021) and Geel (2022).
From Memling to Rubens
From Memling to Rubens is a rollercoaster ride through three hundred years of cultural history, starring the breathtaking masterpieces from the collection of The Phoebus Foundation.
This book has been published on the occasion of the exhibition From Memling to Rubens. The Golden Age of Flanders (2021).