The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
This painting by Anton Rooskens is composed of countless brushstrokes of paint in various colours, alternating with patches of black. The image is strongly determined by large circular movements within which Rooskens painted all sorts of counter movements. Sometimes the colours are painted with long brushstrokes, other times with short brushstrokes partly covering each other. In some places, there are scratches in the top layer of black paint so that the underlying colours appear through it.
In 1948 Rooskens was part of the Experimental Group. In that year, the Cobra movement was founded, comprising the Dutch Experimentalists and a number of Danish and Belgian like-minded artists. Looking back at the Cobra years, Rooskens said in 1963: “The experiment was to become the important way of arriving at a new form”, and “We had achieved unlimited freedom. Only primitive people, children and psychopaths had our sympathy.” The members of Cobra rejected aesthetic art determined by academic rules. They wanted to work straight from the heart and that is why they valued the visual expressions produced by children, “primitive” people and the mentally ill. They were also fascinated by the imaginary world of surrealist artists like Klee and Mirò.
The work of the Cobra members often included animals and imaginary creatures.After coming across examples of indigenous art, Rooskens used themes from this in his work. First, he painted different sorts of creatures, and later these turned into signs. Gradually the emphasis was more on the painting itself. In 'Feast Day', there is no recognizable representation of anything, but the whirling movements and many spots of colour that seem to gambol over each other could be associated with merriment and festivities. In contrast there is a lot of black which makes the tone of the work heavier, but at the same time it illuminates the colours in the dark.
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