The European artistic collective known as Cobra was born in the wake of World War II's devastating events, its name an acronym for the native cities of its founders: Copenhagen, Amsterdam,and Brussels. The influential group of painters and sculptors had a tremendous impact on the development of European abstract expressionism, and contemporary art in general. Cobra was arguably the last avant-garde movement of the 20th century.Moving chronologically, this book explores the years leading up to Cobra's formation, charts its complex expansion over a decade, and illuminates how the movement helped shape thetrajectory of contemporary art today. Thoughtfully integratedamong the numerous images, many presented as full-pagecolor illustrations, are essays that probe the ideological hallmarks that shaped the group as a whole: its rejection of rational constraints; a focus on play and youthfulness; and its embrace of immediacy, particularly in the form of "action"paintings. In addition, comprehensive biographies of the artists illuminate crucial aspects of each individual's journey, helping to expand readers' understanding of Europe's socio-political and theoretical climate.