Pierre Alechinsky (Belgian, b.1927) is a founding member of the CoBrA art movement. Known early on in his career for his skills as a draughtsman, Alechinsky studied as an illustrator and typographer at the National School of Architecture and Decorative Arts in Paris from 1944 to 1946. While in Paris, Alechinsky met the poet and artist Christian Dotremont, and, shortly after their meeting, the two formed the CoBrA artistic group together with fellow artists Karel Appel and Asger Jorn. The name “CoBrA” was derived from the members’ hometowns: Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam; the group was formed on the basic principle of the freedom of color and form in art.

After moving to Japan in 1955 to study calligraphy, Alechinsky’s art became increasingly influenced by Asian traditions and techniques, as he adopted a calligraphic style and used India ink frequently in his work. Many of his works also feature borders or friezes of varying thicknesses, which allowed him to limit excessive color and detail to the edges of his works, focusing instead on the quality of line in the center of his paintings. His imagery includes beasts and biomorphic forms, and he works in a flexible painting style that embraces flaws and accidents in the final composition. Often, he creates works on used paper, infusing his paintings with the quality of a found object; as an artist, Alechinsky is always receptive to chance meetings and unexpected associations. From 1983 to 1987, he worked as a professor in Paris, and, in 1994, Alechinsky was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University in Brussels. Alechinsky lives and works in Paris, France.


Born in Brussels, Belgium
Studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture et des Arts Decoratifs, Brussels, Belgium
Associated with the newly formed CoBrA Movement
Recipient, Andrew W. Mellon Prize for Painting
Recipient, French Grand Prix National for Painting
Professor at the French National School of Fine Arts, Paris, France
Lives and works in France


Alechinsky: les Ateliers du Midi, Musée Granet, Aix en Provence, France (solo)
Pierre Alechinsky: Ronds, Peintures 2008-2009, Galerie Lelong, Paris, France (solo)
60 Jahre COBRA, DIE GALERIE, Frankfurt, Germany
Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
Pierre Alechinsky: Terrils, Galerie Lelong, Paris, France (solo)
Entre Cobra et l'abstraction, Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, Paris, France
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, Germany
Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris, France (solo)
Retrospective, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (solo)
Retrospective, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (solo)
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Retrospective, Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA (solo)
L’Ecart Absolu, Tenth International Surrealist, Paris, France
Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL (solo)
XXX Venice Biennale, Venice , Italy
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (solo)
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
Nina Dausset, Paris, France (solo)

Public Collections

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tate Gallery, London, UK
Royal Museums of Fine Arts , Belgium, Brussels
Musee Jenisch, Vevey, Switzerland
Haifa Museum, Haifa, Israel


Bonnefoy, Françoise and Sarah Clément. Alechinsky. Paris: Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, 1998