(Amsterdam, 1913 - Amsterdam, 2002)
Eugène Brands is frequently mentioned in the same breath with the CoBrA movement, and yet he belonged to it for only a very short time. In fact he left CoBrA after the notorious joint exhibition in the Stedlijk Museum in Amsterdam, in November 1949. With his very personal views on art, Eugène Brands – a great painter and loveable person – was much more of a loner.
And so he always remained. He was always interested in primitive cultures, especially their music. Eugène Brands tried to express many of the magical elements of these cultures in his work, which for a long time during the 1950s was also characterised by his fascination with children’s drawings. This was a typical CoBrA feature, helped in his case by the fact that his daughter Eugenie was a toddler at the time. For years he drew inspiration from this source, resulting in magnificent little paintings, most of them oil on paper.
In the 1960s Brands gradually abandoned representative art in favour of abstraction. He began to paint large areas of colour “of an impenetrable, cotton wool-like substance,” as CoBrA historian Willemijn Stokvis writes. He continued doing this until an advanced age, except that from 1993 onwards he concentrated on making gouaches on paper, which was less demanding physically for him. Eugène Brands died on 15 January 2002, the day of his 89th birthday.