Jan Cox was a founding member of the ‘Jeune Peinture Belge’ group in 1945. By the end of that decade he was briefly associated with the Cobra movement, publishing some of his works in the Cobra magazine. In 1950 he moved to New York. After a brief stay in Rome, he returned to the United States in 1956, becoming head of the Painting Department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
In 1974 he returned to Belgium, to live in Antwerp, and devote himself exclusively to painting. Several of his paintings are abstract, though some of his major successes were with (partly) figurative work: for instance, the cycle based on the myth of Orpheus which he produced in Boston and the cycle based on Homer’s Iliad he produced after his return to Antwerp.
Jan Cox was psychically hyper-sensitive and suffered from recurrent depression throughout his life, eventually leading to his suicide, in Antwerp, in 1980.