Jean DUBUFFET |
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France 1901 - 1985
Born in 1901 in Le Havre(France), died in 1985.
Painter, sculptor, and printmaker, best known for his development of art brut ("raw art").
At his death in 1985, at the age of 84, Jean Dubuffet was acknowledged to be one of the most important artists of the post-war generation. Violently anti-tradition at a time when many of the French longed for a return to normalcy, Dubuffet antagonized the art establishment with his dynamic style and his articulate arguments justifying his new way of thinking.
He had a brilliant childhood, began to paint early and revealed a gift for caricature. In 1918 he went to Paris and enrolled in the Academie Julian, Dubuffet demonstrated a facility for academic painting, but did no serious study there. During this time Dubuffet met Raoul Dufy, Max Jacob, Fernand Léger, and Suzanne Valadon and became fascinated with Hans Prinzhorn's book on psychopathic art.
In 1924, however, he gave up his painting, in 1925 he took over his father's wine business at Le Havre and in 1930 he started his own wholesale wine business in Paris. He did not return to a full-time art career until the early 1940s.
Dubuffet's first solo exhibition was held at the Galerie René Drouin in Paris in 1944. During the 1940s the artist associated with André Breton, Georges Limbour, Jean Paulhan, and Charles Ratton. His style and subject matter in this period owed a debt to Paul Klee. From 1945 he collected Art Brut, spontaneous, direct works by untutored individuals, such as mental patients. The Pierre Matisse Gallery gave him his first solo show in New York in 1947.
In 1946 he had an exhibition, which he called 'Hautes Pates; Mirobolus Macadam ct Cie'. consisting of pictures built up from plaster, glue, putty, asphalt. etc., embedded with pebbles, shards of broken bottles and so on and scribbled and scratched to give the impression of the surfaces of old walls.
Dubuffet stands out as the precursor and chief representative of the tendencies in contemporary art to disparage traditional artistic materials and, as he himself said in 1957, to 'bring all disparaged values into the limelight'. He was interested in the drawings of children, in graffiti on slum walls, in the productions of the untutored and the insane, and all such immediate records of personal experience uninfluenced by cultural traditions. He took the flattened frontal and profile views, the grossly simplified outlines. The concentration on sex of such primitive and naive works for his own figures and he scratched them into his "thick pastes..."
He was one of the leading artists of the School of Paris, he developed the techniques and philosophy of art brut.
During the late 1940s and through the 1950s Dubuffet was the most active advocate for the interest in ANTI-ART which went hack to the DADA movement. But whereas the Dada attitude was negative. a debunking of traditional cultural values. Dubuffet claimed a positive value for material hitherto neglected or despised.
In 1947 he arranged an exhibition of objects produced by children, the mentally handicapped, psychotics and others isolated from the professional art world, coining the term ART BRUT. He founded a company, Compagnie de L'Art Brut, to promote this kind of art.Derived from Dubuffet's studies of the art of children and of the mentally ill, art brut is intended to achieve immediacy and vitality of expression not found in self-conscious, academic art.
In 1947 he had an exhibition in New York, organized by Pierre Matisse, which was a resounding success and in 1949 he paid a short visit to the U.S.A. In I951 he was exhibited with Fautrier, Mathieu, Riopelle and Serpan with the title 'Signifiants de I'Informe' and he has been regarded as a forerunner of AKT INFORMEL..
During the 1950s he continued successfully to integrate Art Brut with his own work as in his Corps de dames series of 1950-1 and his Beardman of 1959. In this period he also produced the Sols et Terrains and the Terres Radieuses series, in which the impasto was modeled to represent the earth with the impress of geological structures, telluric happenings, organic fossilized materials and so on. These, like his earlier use of wall graffiti etc., reflected the impress of 'experience'. In 1954 he exhibited at the Gal. Rive Gauche small figures built up from newspaper, clinker, foil and other discarded materials. In 1959 he exhibited ASSEMBLAGES which he made up of small pieces cut from painted canvases combined with tin foil, leaves, dried flowers. butterfly wings. etc. He had large retrospective exhibitions at the Mus. des Arts De'coratifs, Paris, in 1960 and at The Mus. of Modern Art, New York. in 1961. His collected writings were published in 1967 under the title Ecrits de Jean Dubuffet.
Jean Dubuffet was an artist about whom opinions have widely differed. His drawings and paintings are by turns childlike and obsessive, and their unfinished appearance excited much controversy. He was enthusiastically supported by many contemporary writers, among them Jean Paulhan, Paul Eluard, Francis Ponge. Others belittled his work as insignificant and absurd. It is perhaps fair to say that the dilettantism which he displayed in life was not absent from his work and that the latter was an exegesis rather than a truly original contribution to modernism'. Yet he foreshadowed many of the more 'far out' trends of the 1950s and 1960s
The appeal of his early work depended partly on the material he used, Dubuffet often used crude ideographic images incised into a rough impasto surface made up of such materials as tar, gravel, cinders, ashes, and sand bound with varnish and glue.
During the 1960s Dubuffet experimented with musical composition and the creation of architectural environments. In various graphic and sculptural mediums he continued to explore the potentials of art brut. In his later years he also created several large sculptures of black-and-white painted fiberglass for various public spaces.
First solo exhibition at Galerie Rene Drouin, Paris.
First solo exhibition in the United States at Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York.
First museum retrospective at Museum Morsbroich, Stadtisches Museum Leverkusen, Germany. 1960-61 Major exhibitions at Muśee des Arts Décoratifs, Paris and at Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover; travels to Kunsthaus Zürich.
Retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; travels.
Retrospectives at Tate Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas which travels to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Retrospective at the Musèe des Beaux-Arts, Montreal.
Two major exhibitions presented in Basel at the Kunsthalle and the Kunstmuseum.
1973 trospectives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and at the Grand Palais, Paris. 1980-82 Retrospective at the Akademie der Künste, West Berlin; travels. ...
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