JEAN DUBUFFET

(1901-1985)

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On Exhibition

 

Take a tour of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam's 2017 exhibition of sculptures and paintings by Jean Dubuffet, and learn more about the Artist's tremendous body of work. 

 

Landau Fine Art is proud to exhibit exceptional original works by the artist. 

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Biography

"I feel that beauty is merely an accidental and very specious convention. I feel that the things which are reputed to be ugly are so reputed without reason, and are no less beautiful than the things reputed to be beautiful."

- Jean Dubuffet

Born in 1901 in Le Havre to a family of wine merchants, Jean Dubuffet attended the local Lycée where he developed an interest in drawing and by 1916 had enrolled in a fine arts school. Although equally interested in literature, music and foreign languages, he went to Paris in 1918 to attend the Académie Julian but left after a few months to work on his own.

 

Having evolved a very skeptical view of cultural values and institutions, in 1924 he effectively retired from art for many years, first becoming a technical draughtsman for a company in Argentina, then joining his father's wine business in Le Havre in 1925 and marrying Paulette Bret in 1927 with whom he had a daughter, Isalmina.

 

In 1930, Dubuffet moved his family to Bercy near Paris to open his own wine wholesale business. Divorced in 1934, he remarried in 1937 to Lili (Emilie Carlu). He joined the military in 1939, serving in the meteorological corps for several months before being discharged for "indiscipline". Leasing his wine business in 1942, he came out of his retirement from the art world and caused a great furor with his first solo exhibition at Galerie René Drouin in 1944. 

 

Often cited as the greatest French artist to emerge after WWII, Dubuffet was energized by the freedom found in children's art. He was also very inspired by Hans Prinzhorn's book on art by the insane, finding the raw message in psychopathic art to be more relevant than any classical or contemporary expressions. This Art Brut became a passion for him.  Profoundly influenced by its frenetic authenticity which, according to him, was so lacking in the work of professional artists, he continually searched for this divine madness in his own works. In 1972, Dubuffet donated his celebrated collection of art brut to the city of Lausanne, which built a museum to hold it.

 

By 1947, his work had crossed the Atlantic for showings at Pierre Matisse's galleries in New York and Chicago.  For three decades from the late 1950s, he was the subject of numerous major museum retrospectives across Europe and America, including the Tate, MOMA, and three at the Guggenheim.

 

Jean Dubuffet became one of the most prolific artists of the 20th century, successively exploring various themes and media to attain abstruse primordial effects. A lively poetic writer who carefully catalogued and published his own developments, he also worked closely with Max Loreau on the 38 volumes of Fascicules dealing with all his work from 1942 to his death in 1985.   

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