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Constant Anton Nieuwenhuys was a Dutch painter, and one of the foremost innovators of Unitary Urbanism. In 1941, he became deeply interested in the work of Paul Cézanne, Cubism and German Expressionism.
Nieuwenhuys was born in Amsterdam. Generally known simply as Constant, in 1948 he founded the Experimentele Groep Holland with Corneille, Karel Appel and his own brother, Jan Nieuwenhuys. They then went on to link up with Christian Dotremont and Joseph Noiret of Belgium and Asger Jorn of Denmark to form CoBrA. In 1958 he started the Situationist International where he is most noted for his contribution to unitary urbanism.
Scorched Earth I (1951) is one of his noted works from this period. He was also well known for his life-long work New Babylon, a series of models, collages, writings and other projects related to his theories of urban development and social interaction.
Although his early work was conventional in style and included deeply religious subjects, soon the subjects of his paintings became contemporary and political, including such things as the Vietnam War, African famine and Kosovo refugees. Marxism was a strong influence. Constant's New Babylon: City for Another Life, opened at the Drawing Center in New York in 1999. It was his first solo exhibition in the United States. There was a symposium conducted in conjunction with the exhibition.
A documentary film entitled Le Piège (The Trap) was made about him during the last months of his life, by Thomas Doebele and Maarten Schmidt.
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