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Lucebert (1987).jpg
Lucebert (1987)
Born Lubertus Jacobus Swaanswijk
(1924-09-15)15 September 1924
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died 10 May 1994(1994-05-10) (aged 69)
Alkmaar, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Known for Poetry, painting
Movement COBRA

Lucebert (/ˈlɨbɛərt/; Lubertus Jacobus Swaanswijk; 15 September 1924 – 10 May 1994) was a Dutch artist who first became known as the poet of the COBRA movement.

He was born in Amsterdam in 1924. He entered the Institute for Arts and Crafts in 1938 and took part in the first exhibition of the COBRA group at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 1949.


Lucebert's talent was discovered when he started working for his father after school. After half a year of art school, he chose to be homeless between 1938 and 1947. In 1947, a Franciscan convent offered him a roof over his head, in exchange for a huge mural painting. Because the nuns could not appreciate his work, they had it painted over with white paint entirely.

He belonged to the Dutch literary movement of De Vijftigers. They were greatly influenced by the European avant-garde movement COBRA. So was Lucebert, especially in his early work. His art reflects a rather pessimistic view on the world.

His strong personality appealed to many. As a poet he laid foundation for a revolutionary innovation of Dutch poetry.

Most of his poems were collected in Gedichten 1948-1965. After this period of writing poetry, he worked mostly on visual arts, that was called figurative-expressionist from the 1960s.

Lucebert's sentence "Alles van waarde is weerloos" ("All things of value are defenceless") on a building in Rotterdam

Well known is his line "Alles van waarde is weerloos" (All things of value are defenceless) from the poem De zeer oude zingt (The very old one sings). This line was put on top of the office building of an insurance company in Rotterdam (near the Blaak station) in neon letters, including his name, in the 1980s or earlier. It wasn't the first but certainly the most prominent and today three more buildings in the area feature such writing on the wall. The city's central library is just across the street and reads "Heel de wereld is mijn vaderland - Erasmus", all the world is my fatherland - Erasmus.

He died on 10 May 1994 in Alkmaar, Netherlands.

Lucebert was also a noted anti-apartheid activist.[1]


  • 1949 - International Exhibition of Experimental Art, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1959 - Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1961 - Stedelijk van Abbe-Museum, Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • 1963 - Staedtlische Kunstgalerie, Bochum, Germany
  • 1963 - Marlborough New London Gallery, London
  • 1964 - Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
  • 1964 - Documenta 111, Kassel, Germany
  • 1969 - Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
  • 1969 - Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland - with Karel Appel and Tajiri
  • 1977 - Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1982 - Kunsthalle, Mannheim, Germany
  • 1983 - Kunstverein Hochrhein, Bad Säckingen, Germany
  • 1984 - Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1985 - Rai, Kunstmesse Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1987 - Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1988 - Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Kunstverein Freiburg i.Br., Germany
  • 1988 - Landesmuseum Oldenburg, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 1989 - Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Germany
  • 1989 - Städtische Kunstgalerie, Bochum, Germany
  • 1989 - Kunsthaus Grenchen, Grenchen, Switzerland


  • 1954 - prize for literature from the city of Amsterdam
  • 1959 - "Mediterranean Prize" of the Paris Biennale
  • 1962 - 2nd "Marzotto Prize"
  • 1964 - "Carlo Cardazzo" prize at the 32nd Biennale in Venice, Italy
  • 1965 - "Constantijn Huygensprijs"
  • 1967[2] - "P.C. Hooftprijs" - the highest Dutch Governmental prize for literature
  • 1983 - "Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren" for Dutch literature


  1. ^
  2. ^ "1967 – Lucebert"