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Artists Jean Dubuffet
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Jean Dubuffet

French Painter, Printmaker, and Sculptor

Movements and Styles: Art Brut, Art Informel

Born: July 31, 1901 - Le Havre, France

Died: May 12, 1985 - Paris, France

Jean Dubuffet Timeline

Quotes

"Look at what lies at your feet! .. A crack in the ground, sparkliing gravel, a tuft of grass, some crushed debris, offer equally worthy subjects for your applause and admiration."
Jean Dubuffet
"For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity."
Jean Dubuffet
"Unless one says goodbye to what one loves, and unless one travels to completely new territories, one can expect merely a long wearing away of oneself and an eventual extinction."
Jean Dubuffet
"In the name of what - except perhaps the coefficient of rarity - does man adorn himself with necklaces of shells and not spider's webs, with fox fur and not fox innards? In the name of what I don't know. Don't dirt, trash and filth, which are man's companions during his whole lifetime, deserve to be dearer to him and isn't it serving him well to remind him of their beauty?"
Jean Dubuffet

"Personally, I believe very much in values of savagery; I mean: instinct, passion, mood, violence, madness."

Jean Dubuffet Signature

Synopsis

Jean Dubuffet disliked authority from a very early age. He left home at 17, failed to complete his art education, and wavered for many years between painting and working in his father's wine business. He would later be a successful propagandist, gaining notoriety for his attacks on conformism and mainstream culture, which he described as "asphyxiating." He was attracted to the art of children and the mentally ill, and did much to promote their work, collecting it and promulgating the notion of Art Brut. His early work was influenced by that of outsiders, but it was also shaped by the interests in materiality that preoccupied many post-war French artists associated with the Art Informel movement. In the early 1960s, he developed a radically new, graphic style, which he called "Hourloupe," and would deploy it on many important public commissions, but he remains best known for the thick textured and gritty surfaces of his pictures from the 1940s and '50s.

Key Ideas

Dubuffet was launched to success with a series of exhibitions that opposed the prevailing mood of post-war Paris and consequently sparked enormous scandal. While the public looked for a redemptive art and a restoration of old values, Dubuffet confronted them with childlike images that satirized the conventional genres of high art. And while the public looked for beauty, he gave them pictures with coarse textures and drab colors, which critics likened to dirt and excrement.
The emphasis on texture and materiality in Dubuffet's paintings might be read as an insistence on the real. In the aftermath of the war, it represented an appeal to acknowledge humanity's failings and begin again from the ground - literally the soil - up.
Dubuffet's Hourloupe style developed from a chance doodle while he was on the telephone. The basis of it was a tangle of clean black lines that forms cells, which are sometimes filled with unmixed color. He believed the style evoked the manner in which objects appear in the mind. This contrast between physical and mental representation later encouraged him to use the approach to create sculpture.

Biography

Jean Dubuffet Photo

Childhood

Jean Dubuffet was born on July 31, 1901, in Le Havre, France, into a middle-class family that distributed wine. Although he was well-educated, he came to reject his studies, preferring to educate himself by reading the work of Dr. Hans Prinzhorn, who drew comparisons between the art of asylum inmates and the artwork of children. Based on these observations, Prinzhorn stated that it was savagery, or base animal instinct, that lead to universal harmony, arguing that it was the primal instinct, not intellectual theory or analysis, that connected all living things. This concept had a strong influence on Dubuffet's later career.

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Jean Dubuffet Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Jean Dubuffet
Interactive chart with Jean Dubuffet's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Jean FautrierJean Fautrier
Edvard MunchEdvard Munch
Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso

Personal Contacts

Hans PrinzhornHans Prinzhorn
Max JacobMax Jacob
Jean PaulhanJean Paulhan
André BretonAndré Breton
André MassonAndré Masson

Movements

CubismCubism
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
ExpressionismExpressionism
SurrealismSurrealism

Influences on Artist
Jean Dubuffet
Jean Dubuffet
Years Worked: 1942 - 1985
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Jean-Michel BasquiatJean-Michel Basquiat
Julian SchnabelJulian Schnabel
Georg BaselitzGeorg Baselitz

Personal Contacts

André MassonAndré Masson
André BretonAndré Breton
Antonin ArtaudAntonin Artaud
Jean PaulhanJean Paulhan

Movements

Art BrutArt Brut
Neo-ExpressionismNeo-Expressionism
Pop ArtPop Art

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Content compiled and written by Larissa Borteh

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Larissa Borteh
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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