Asger Jorn (born Asger Oluf Jørgensen) attended the teacher training college in Silkeborg but in 1936 went to Paris and enrolled at Fernand Léger's school of painting.
Jorn debuted in 1933 at an exhibition with the Free Painters of Jutland. In 1941 he was one of the founders of the Spontaneous-Abstract painting in Denmark and a co-editor of the wide-ranging culture periodical Helhesten.
In 1948 he was one of the driving forces behind the CoBrA movement that published the periodical CoBrA, named after the organisation's centres in COpenhagen, BRussels and Amsterdam. The Cobra group was active until 1951.
In 1953 Jorn began his comprehensive ceramic production, and the following year he settled in Albisola in Italy, that year also setting up the Mouvement International pour un Bauhaus Imaginiste.
In 1959 Jorn joined the experimental and politically orientated art movement Situationniste Internationale. In 1961 he withdrew to form his own Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism which was to manage the publication of a 32 volume work on Scandinavian popular art through 10,000 years. The book, however, was never completed.
From the mid-1950s Jorn alternated between Paris and Albisola. His first exhibition in the USA was in 1962 at the Lefebre Gallery. 1966 onwards his focus was on oil painting. He travelled extensively, visiting Cuba, England, Scotland, USA and the Far East.
He received the Academy Medal several times and in 1962 was awarded the Eckersberg Medal which he refused. He also refused the prestigious Guggenheim International Award in 1964 but accepted the Prince Eugen Medal in 1970.
From 1933 until his death he participated in numerous exhibitions in Europe and USA. After his death his works have continued touring worldwide.
In 2003 ARKEN mounted a great Asger Jorn retrospective which was subsequently shown at the CoBrA Museum in the Netherlands and Kunsthalle zu Kiel in Germany.
Furthermore Jorn is represented in the following museums: Statens Museum for Kunst, the Deparment of Prints and Drawings, Louisiana, Silkeborg Kunstmuseum, Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Herning Kunstmuseum, Randers Kunstmuseum, Vejle Kunstmuseum, Vejen Kunstmuseum, Fyns Kunstmuseum, Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter in Høvikodden, Museet for Samtidskunst in Oslo, Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Tate Modern in London, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Stedelijk van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, Museum van Hedendagse Kunst in Gent, Nationalgalleriet, Berlin, Lenbachhaus, Munich, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Musée de Picardie in Amiens, Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Guggenheim Museum in New York.