Paintings and sculpture from 1960s and 1970s
17 October to 16 November 2007
Dubuffet (1901-1985) is regarded as one of the most famous French painters and sculptors of the second half of the 20th century. Born in 1901 in Le Havre, he moved to Paris in 1918 to study painting at the Académie Julian, but after just six months left his course and by 1923 even gave up painting entirely, working instead as an industrial draftsman and later in the family wine business. Nearly a decade later Dubuffet took to art again, however it was only in 1942 that he fully embraced his career as a painter and sculptor.
Dubuffet's return to painting was accompanied by a passion for 'primitive' and naive art forms, as well as for paintings made by the psychologically disturbed. By 1945 he had started to collect so called 'ugly art' or Art Brut, and in 1948 he founded a society to promote this type of work.
Dubuffet’s painting style, which he called Art Brut (raw art), was contrary to everything expected of a painter in the French tradition and dealt a serious blow to the usual aesthetic assumptions. By the 1960s Dubuffet had began to progress away from the raw ‘Art Brut’ style, however there was still a continued sense of the impulsive which signified his previous style.
Probably the most important pieces created by Dubuffet are part of his Hourloupe series. This series began as a collection of drawings done with a ballpoint pen, though the series gradually evolved to include felt-tip pen drawings. Dubuffet arbitrarily restricted himself to a palette of red, white, blue, and black, making the function of color non-expressionist.