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On 6 December, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers opens the doors in Copenhagen for a spectacular CoBrA auction together with Bukowskis and Bonhams.
On 6 December, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers opens the doors in Copenhagen for a spectacular CoBrA auction together with Bukowskis and Bonhams.

Press release -

CoBrA – Art Born out of Adversity

This December, the auction house Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers, together with the Swedish auction house Bukowskis and auction house British Bonhams, will host a magnificent CoBrA Live Auction in Copenhagen. Here you can bid on a wide selection of works from a large number of artists related to CoBrA.

In the autumn of 1948, a small group of artists from Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands, who all shared the same thoughts on the role of art in society, met at the Hotel Notre Dame café in Paris. This became the starting point for one of the most ground-breaking and innovative art movements of the 20th century: CoBrA.

On 6 December, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers opens the doors in Copenhagen for a spectacular CoBrA auction together with Bukowskis and Bonhams. The auction celebrates the creativity, community, spontaneity and experimental approach to art, which were the core slogans of CoBrA. Here you will be able to bid on a large number of decisive works by the movement's prominent artists such as Asger Jorn, Karel Appel, Pierre Alechinsky, Egill Jacobsen, Carl-Henning Pedersen and Sonja Ferlov Mancoba.

A Global Collaboration

The CoBrA auction is the result of a close collaboration between Bruun Rasmussen, Bukowskis and Bonhams in the new global network of auction houses under Bonhams' wings. The works in the auction are currently being shown in different European cities in a travelling exhibition, which concludes in Copenhagen, where everyone can stop by and see the works up for auction between 24 and 28 November.

All the big names of the CoBrA movement are represented at our upcoming auction, and the travelling exhibition, which began in Paris, where the movement started in 1948, is a strong symbol of our European network and cooperation. We are therefore looking forward to this fantastic opportunity to present these paintings to European collectors," says Niels Raben, Head of Modern & Contemporary Art at Bruun Rasmussen.

Powerful Voices of Post-war Europe

The CoBrA movement was formed in 1948 by a group of artists of different nationalities. This included names such as Asger Jorn, Christian Dotremont, Karel Appel and Corneille, who all shared the same auction in society. The name CoBrA comes from the first letters in the names of the hometowns of the artists involved: Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam.

After the horrors of two world wars, CoBrA’s ideology emerged as a desire to reform society, transcend the norms and create a better world for humanity to thrive in. The artists wanted to start over, and all previously held truths had to be broken down in an attempt to create a universal idiom, which could unite a war-torn Europe. They did away with the perception of the artist as an isolated genius – the artist should instead be an active part of society and create art that could influence people to move in a new and better direction. In this way art was seen as a facilitator for change.

An Artistic Revolution

It was through the unconscious, the imaginative and the spontaneous that the artists found their way to the new, unspoiled and liberated art form they sought. They drew on inspiration from children’s drawings, mythologies and primitive folk art, and virtually every conceivable medium was used – from paintings, sculptures and ceramics to prints and poetry. Recurring features across the works of the group were strong colours, strange bird creatures and figures that uneasily and insistently twist and turn in front of us viewers.

On paper, the group was only active from the end of 1948 until 1951, but the spontaneous and expressive approach to art defines the work of many artists across several decades and resonated far beyond the borders of Europe.

Art in Times of Adversity

CoBrA grew out of two world wars, where a sense of balance at the global level had to be restored and the wounds healed. It was the sense of confinement and the accumulated longing for new sceneries following the war that blew the lid off the energy and imagination of an approach to art that transcended all boundaries. It was once again possible to travel freely and collaborate on developing dreams and formulating visions for a new world. CoBrA artists were connected, and they became the guarantors of an artistic revolution in Europe.

Today, works by artists related to CoBrA are still in high demand – this is happening at a time when the world is faced with adversity with new crises in new formats and sizes, and where life can seem uncertain with a rising need for bringing people together and finding common ground. Art can once again become a mouthpiece to get over, or through, a crisis when it hits. CoBrA's colourful energy burst is thus eternally topical and reminds us that art, mobility, peace and freedom are privileges that we cannot take for granted.

Record Hammer Price for a CoBrA Painting

The highest hammer price for a CoBrA work within the Bonhams network of auction houses was achieved back in 2006 at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers in Copenhagen. The work was one of Asger Jorn’s monumental masterpieces – the colourful oil painting “Tristesse blanche” from 1958. The hammer price was DKK 8.3 million / EUR 1.1 million (including buyer’s premium).

The CoBrA auction will take place on 6 December at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen thanks to a close collaboration between Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers, Bukowskis and Bonhams Cornette de Saint Cyr.

The auction’s offered works are exhibited at Bruun Rasmussen's preview in Copenhagen 24.-28. November.

View all preview and auction dates HERE.

Bonhams' Global Network
Bruun Rasmussen has now been part of Bonhams for more than half a year. The auction house work closely with art specialists from other auction houses, share knowledge and promote the art objects at the auctions in places around the world where it makes the most sense for the auction lot and the customers. The collaboration has been rewarding in every way, and Bruun Rasmussen look forward to the continued journey together with Bonhams' global network. The collaboration also means that Bonhams' international customers can join the bidding at Live Auctions via



"Going once, going twice. Sold to the lady in the front row”. For 75 years, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers has sold art, antiques, design, jewellery, wristwatches and collector’s items in the heart of Copenhagen. It was Arne Bruun Rasmussen who founded the auction house at Bredgade 33 in 1948, and until 2022 the Bruun Rasmussen family owned the company. Today, the company is owned by the British auction house Bonhams - one of the world's leading and oldest auction houses.

Being a part of Bonhams, means that Bruun Rasmussen has joined a global network, which benefits both the art and the customers, the latter has gained access to far more auctions and the former has a better chance of achieving the market's best hammer prices. The goal is to constantly confirm to our customers that Bruun Rasmussen is a sought-after auction house with the highest expertise in valuation and sales. Bonhams and Bruun Rasmussen share the core values of knowledge, credibility, commitment and renewal, and the old Copenhagen auction house will thus continue to base its business on its well-known values under the auspices of Bonhams.

With CEO Jakob Dupont at the helm, an extensive digitization process has taken place during the past years, making the auction house a significant player on the international market. With solid experience and in-depth knowledge complemented by highly professional advice and appraisal service, the company is the link between sellers and interested buyers from all over the world. Every year, 70,000 unique works of art are sold at three types of auctions – the traditional Live Auctions and the two web-based auctions Online Auction and Direct Auction.


Kirstine Dam Olsen

Kirstine Dam Olsen

Press contact +45 8818 1064

Bruun Rasmussen – Part of the Bonhams Network

"Going once, going twice. Sold to the lady in the front row". For more than 75 years, the auction house Bruun Rasmussen has sold art, antiques, design, jewellery, wristwatches and collector’s items such as wine, books, coins and stamps. After having been family-owned through three generations, we were bought in 2022 by the English auction house Bonhams, which was founded in England in 1793 and is today one of the world's leading auction houses. We are now part of an international network with a global reach, and we present and sell art where it makes the most sense in relation to potential buyers. This also means that through the network we offer more than 60 categories of items at our auctions.

Art and credibility are at the heart of everything we do. The work in the auction house places great demands on our knowledge of art and trends on the market. Our specialists are the most experienced and competent in the industry, and in the Bonhams Network we share knowledge and communicate across national borders with a large number of international specialists. This way, we can provide the best valuation and advice that have become our trademark – and thereby offer the best lots from all categories and achieve the highest hammer prices for the benefit of our customers.

Tradition and innovation go hand in hand. At Bruun Rasmussen, we are one of Europe's most modern and digital auction houses, and it is only natural for us to adapt to changes in the market. Innovation is part of our DNA, while we are also deeply rooted in our history. The foundation of the company rests on our two types of auctions – Online Auction and Live Auction. Every week we put more than a thousand lots up for auction at, and several times a year we present exclusive lots live in our saleroom. We are proud to sell art and design in virtually every category and price range to and for people all over the world who are driven by the same passion as we are.

We want to be a living centre of culture, and since the autumn of 2023, we have been located in Lyngby north of Copenhagen in a new, modern domicile. Here you can not only explore among all the art objects on display and bid on the exciting auctions, you can also meet our specialists, get an estimate on your own items, consign them for auction, listen to exciting lectures and participate in cultural events. We also have branches in Aarhus and Glostrup and regularly go on valuation trips around Denmark and abroad. Our goal is to always be available and for everyone to have a good experience in our auction house.

Welcome to Bruun Rasmussen – we can help you make a good purchase or achieve a great sale!

Bruun Rasmussen – Part of the Bonhams Network
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