Guillaume Corneille biography

Guillaume Corneille pittore

Corneille Guillaume van Beverloo, known as Corneille, was a Belgian painter, engraver and sculptor. He was born in Liège, Belgium on 3 July 1922. After graduating from the School of Fine Arts in Amsterdam, he began his artistic activity inspired by surrealism.
In July 1948, Corneille together with Constant and Jan Nieuwenhuys and Karel Appel he founded the magazine Reflex in which he reiterated the importance of artistic research even more than work itself. Also in 1948, on the terrace of the Notre Dame café in Paris, the founders of the magazine Reflex were joined by Christian Dotremont and Joseph Noiret from Belgium and Asger Jorn from Denmark to form the group CoBrA, a name created by Dotremont and deriving from the first letters of their hometowns: Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. The members of the group opposed aesthetics in painting and bourgeois art in general. The group exhibited in two large collective exhibitions: one in Amsterdam in 1949 and one in Liège in 1951 during which the group disbanded.
After a period of work at the engraver's atelier Stanley William Hayter in Paris, he went to Albissola where together with Asger Jorn he dedicated himself to the activity of ceramist.
In 1949 he made his first trip to North Africa and throughout the 1950s he would travel between Africa, America and the Antilles. Also thanks to these travels which gave him a new artistic sensitivity, Corneille gradually abandoned abstractism to return to a new figuration. From then on he painted canvases, created an important graphic production and created sculptures and ceramic objects characterized by full-bodied and bright colours and whose profiles are very often highlighted by clear and dark contours.
His first solo exhibition was in 1950 in Copenhagen, while his personal exhibition in Paris at the Salon de Mai was in 1951.
In 1956 he was awarded the Guggenheim Prize. Two other large retrospectives were dedicated to him in 1966 at the Stadelijk Museum in Amsterdam and in 1973 at the Charleroi Museum.
His art evokes a personal world and imaginary, a universe populated by flowers, birds and women. From 1980 to 1987 Corneille participated in numerous retrospectives dedicated to the Cobra movement both in France and abroad. Corneille died in Auvers-sur-Oise in Belgium on 5 September 2010.