The ‘Emperor’ of his revolutionary generation
The Fiftiers were connected to the European CoBrA Movement and the Experimental Group in Holland, a group of painters and writers, established in 1948 who, as the painter Constant put it in his manifesto, were ‘against the degenerate aesthetic concepts that had hindered the development of creativity in the past.’ For the first time, a definitive break was being made with the established art and literature of the past.
One thing that characterized the revolutionary new poetry of the Fiftiers was an unrestrained pleasure in language and a belief in what language could bring to bear. Simultaneously the new poetry aimed to present a reality that was stripped of all metaphysical certainty.
For Lucebert, such an experience was epitomised as a sharp awareness of being ‘a breadcrumb on the skirt of the universe’ and it is in his work that we find the expression of this sensibility to be at its most intense. Often hailed the ‘Emperor’ of the Fiftiers, Lucebert’s growing reputation as a poet culminated in his receiving of the Dutch State Prize for Literature in 1983. Throughout his entire life he remained totally devoted to his drawing, painting and poetry.