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There is so much to see in the Cobra Art Gallery at Van Baerlestraat 8: from photos printed on plexiglass to controversial sculptures with a nod to fashion and pop art. The artworks at display are all unique or made in limited editions. They are sold according to the ‘art-à-porter’ principle: art delivered from the gallery directly to the customer.
A life-size portrait of David Bowie with a penetrating gaze, shot by the internationally renowned and award-winning photographer Markus Klinko. A little bit further along, a nun tempts the visitor with her seductive eye makeup. Slowly the picture changes, however: underneath her robe she’s wearing a sexy garter belt. In this image, art photographer Cécile Plaisance uses a lenticular printing technique in order to suggest movement. The same method is applied to a picture of a model wearing a Hèrmes burka with a bikini underneath.
Another wall contains a monumental work by James Chiew. Famous celebrities and global stars, including James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Jimi Hendrix, Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela, are gathered around a long table. But there is a twist: they never could have met in real life… This is an image that keeps drawing one’s attention and its large size makes it all the more impressive.
Extraordinary fire extinguisher
“Many artworks in our collection touch upon pop art, fashion, glamour and celebrities. In other words: fashion on the wall”, Leon Jonkman, gallery manager of the Cobra Gallery on Van Baerlestraat, explains. Apart from their iconic photographic artworks printed on plexiglass, Cobra Art is selling sculptures as well, such as the extraordinary fire extinguishers, made by James Chiew: they are adorned with a logo of Ferrari, Chanel or another brand and they even work!
Or the cartoonish bulldogs by Christophe Comerro; with their glossy finish they seem to be made of china. Then there are the striking arty handbags by Debra Franses Bean that are filled with stacks of banknotes, shiny pistols, gold watches, lipstick shells and perfume bottles. These bags weigh around thirty pounds each. “No, you’re not really supposed to carry them with you”, Jonkman laughs. “These things are objects: it takes the artist takes around three months to make a single bag.”
Combining works from the Cobra Art collection with furniture and objects enables their customers to get a good idea of how these things would look in their own home, the gallery manager says. Practically everything is for sale, from the chandelier to the carpet. “We see art as an integral part of an interior setting.”
The works sold at Cobra Art are always unique or made in limited editions. The use of special materials, such as liquid gloss with metal paint and resin, leads to stunning effects. Most works can be printed in four different sizes, quite handy if the picture in question needs to fit in an alcove or on a specific wall. And all the images displayed in colour are also available in black and white. Twice a year, in January and September, Cobra Art presents their new collection in Paris during the Maison & Objet Interior Design Fair, each time dedicated to a new theme.
Cobra Art Company is a family business that was established over 30 years ago and has grown from an art dealer into an international brand. Owners Mike and Jeannette van Rijswijk are still actively engaged in the company: together they travel the world to carefully curate the Cobra Art Collection.
“We choose photographers and artists based on originality, creativity and innovation”, Jeannette van Rijswijk says. “And obviously there should be a good match with the Cobra Art style. We organize our own photo shoots with the photographers we have selected.”
The company’s main office is located in the town of Veenendaal (province of Utrecht). Here, visitors can walk through an inspiring art gallery measuring 1,100 sq. m² (nearly 12,000 sq. ft) with over 500 different artworks. The gallery contains fully furnished studios, each with their own unique interior that perfectly highlights the work of art on display.
Young and trendy
It is a place where art lovers head to when they’re looking for inspiration or simply want to discover new works. “Our target audience is trendy and young, on average between 25 and 55, mostly double earners”, according to Van Rijswijk. “People who love nice interiors, watches, cars, fashion and good restaurants.” The showroom is not only frequented by consumers but is also popular among interior designers and project developers. The Cobra Art project team is available to work with them on interior design or restyling projects.
Boutique hotel TwentySeven in Amsterdam is fully furnished with artworks from Cobra Art, just like a number of luxury hotels in cities such as Dubai. Jonkman: “Next year we’ll start working together with the Art’otel in Amsterdam, located opposite Central Station. These things make our work so interesting: our art is represented in more than 28 countries, from hotels to luxury interior design stores.”
Opening an exclusive brand store in Amsterdam had long been a wish of the owners. The Museum Quarter, where arts and fashion meet, is an ideal location – especially with the proximity of Zuidas. Due to their many years of experience in the trade, Mike and Jeannette van Rijswijk know how to perfectly cater to the needs of the market and their target audience; one could say they simply sense what their customers want. Using their expertise, they’ve built their high-end Masterpiece Collection in close collaboration with leading international artists and photographers.
What will the future bring for Cobra Art Company? “We’re already exporting worldwide. At the moment, there are Cobra Art Galleries in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Düsseldorf and London. And soon we’ll open stores in Paris, Tel Aviv and Moscow, but we would like to add even more”, Van Rijswijk says. “Eventually, it is our ambition to open Cobra Art Galleries in all large international cities.”
Cobra Art Amsterdam
Van Baerlestraat 8
T 020 2153 110
Jeannette en Mike van Rijswijk are the owners of Cobra Art
Read in: Nederlands