Le Havre, 1901 – Paris, 1985
Jean Dubuffet attended the Academy in his city before joining the Julian Academy in Paris in 1918.
It was in the capital that he came into contact with Dufy, Léger, Valadon, and learned about the theories of Hans Prinzhorn on the art of the insane. His other sources of inspiration become primitive and childish art.
During the 1920s, he lived in Italy and South America, partially abandoning his artistic production to engage in the management of his family interests or to work as an industrial designer.
He returned to art in the 1940s with his first exhibition at the Galerie Drouin in Paris. His works are influenced by Klee’s linear abstraction. His artistic journey really began in 1945, when he introduced the practice of Art Brut in his work: spontaneous, impromptu works, created by children, the insane, or people without any artistic training.
It was in 1947 that he founded the ‘Compagnie de l’Art Brut’ with Breton, Paulhan and Drouin: the aim was to exhibit the works of several ‘artists despite themselves’ who expressed themselves without aesthetic purpose, for simple emotional impulses, with a direct style and without mediation.
His first solo exhibition at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York reveals his intention to break free from the tradition of an asphyxiating culture, by privileging the expression of original and atavistic artistic forces. His models are Miró, Klee or Kandinsky.
He moved to New York in 1951, then to Paris where he exhibited in 1954 at the Volney Circle. The 1950s and 1960s took place in the creation of many important cycles of paintings.
In 1957, his first museum exhibition at the Schloss Morsbroich in Leverskusen in Germany will be followed by others at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, at MOMA in New York, at the Art Institute in Chicago, at the Tate Gallery in London or even at the Guggenheim in New York. This is followed by the Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1964), the Akademie der Künste in Berlin (1980-1981), the Museum Moderner Kunst in Vienna, the Joseph-Haubrichkunsthalle in Cologne.
He will be recognized as one of the great artists of the 20th century from the exhibition that the Guggenheim Museum in New York organized in 1981 on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Jean Dubuffet died in Paris in May 1985.
© JEAN DUBUFFET, by SIAE 2023