Jean Dubuffet Biography, Artwork, Galleries Online | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Biography

Occupation: Painter; Sculptor
Movement: Art Brut
Education: Academie Julian, Paris
 
Jean Dubuffet's Famous Artworks
“Monument with Standing Beast,” 1984
“Cite Fantoche,” 1963
“Vigueur et Sante,” 1961
“Trnite-Champs-Elysees,” 1961
“Legion Etrangere,” 1971
“Vue de Paris, le Petit Commerce,” 1944
“Le Gai Savoir,” 1963
“Vache A L’Herbage,” 1954
 
Jean Philippe Arthur Dubuffet was a French artist, sculptor and theorist. His rejection of academic study and analyses for “low art” was controversial, and he shunned conventional concepts of beauty for what he believed was a more primal methodology for painting. His paintings have been exhibited at several galleries.
 
Jean Dubuffet's Early Years
Jean Dubuffet was born in July of 1901 to a wealthy bourgeois family of wine merchants in the port of Le Havre. His class standing ensured a good education, though he eventually spurned academia and preferred learning through reading and observation. The writings of Dr. Hans Prinzhorn, whose studies drew comparisons between the artwork of the mentally ill and that of children, fascinated him. The idea that it was the animal instinct and not an intellectual theory that connected the individual to the larger universe was one that Dubuffet would absorb and expand upon in his own work.
 
Jean Dubuffet's Rejection of the Intelligentsia
In 1918, the 17-year-old artist moved to Paris to study at the Académie Julian. In comparison to the scholars at the academy, Dubuffet considered himself a wild man. His exposure to the art intelligentsia left him disdainful of their pretensions, and he rebelled against the institution by refusing to be labeled. He withdrew from the school within six months and adopted a self-taught position. In 1924, he lost conviction that the artist’s role in society was worthwhile and took up work as an industrial draftsman before joining the family wine business. He did not paint again for 10 years.
 
Jean Dubuffet's The Art Brut Collection
The ideas presented in Prinzhorn’s “Artistry of the Mentally Ill” caused Dubuffet to put together an assortment of outsider art — work produced by non-professionals working outside standard models of aesthetics. Paintings by children and inmates of prisons and asylums dominate the collection, although the work of like-minded artists like Aloïse Corbaz and Adolf Wölfli also feature here. Collection de L’art Brut is now housed in Lausanne in Switzerland.
 
Jean Dubuffet's Primal Art
Apart from producing a few masks and puppets in 1933, Dubuffet did not indulge in much creative work until 1942 when he began a series of nudes drawn in primitive strokes and uninterrupted colors. His interest in the art of the psychologically disturbed directly contributed to his idea of Art Brut, or “ugly art,” which advocated spontaneous, spiritual expression over highbrow theory. His first exhibition, in which urban life and people were presented with an insistently naive and infantile vigor, illustrated this approach. The unsettling distortions of human beings within their chosen environments challenged traditional concepts of realism and purposely evoked a sense of ugliness.
 
The influence of Jean Fautrier is evident in his early work, which includes experiments with tar, gravel, and sand to create textured canvases that hold itself as a mirror to the “real world” as opposed to traditionally appealing images in oil. Salvaged junk from the Parisian railway lines went into the creation of bizarre sculptural pieces. His obsession with texturing narrowed his palette, and he chose to work with dark, homochromous surfaces. Jean Dubuffet's paintings are created in seclusion, unhindered by increasingly cerebral approaches to art.
 
Jean Dubuffet's Later Years
Dubuffet began experimenting with music and audio recordings with Asger Jorn in the beginning of the 1960s. He began working more with sculpture as well, using ordinary paper-mâché and polystyrene as base materials. Eventually, his work took on larger proportions, resulting in giant sculpture-habitations in which viewers could invest time in contemplation within an artificial environment. Art lovers can buy Jean Dubuffet's  works online.
 
Until he passed away in Paris in 1985, Dubuffet's works were mounted in retrospectives and galleries around the world. His rejection of the culture and intellectualism of his time was instrumental in the technique of ordinary, mundane materials for creative expression, denying a separation between ugliness and beauty. Although his work often seems unrefined and childlike, Dubuffet wanted to create an art free from convention and wrote about his own work in erudite terms. He died at the age of 84 in Paris.
 
Jean Dubuffet's Major Exhibitions
1944  -  Rene Drouin Gallery, Paris
1947  -  Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
1960  -  Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris
1962  -  Museum of Modern Art, New York
1964  -  Palazzo Grassi, Venice
1966  -  Tate Gallery, London
1987  -  Galerie Steinek, Vienna
2004  -  Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
2006  -  Sara Hilden Museum, Tampere
2007  -  Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin
2011  -  Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris
2013  -  Musee de la Poste, Paris
 
Jean Dubuffet's Museums / Collections
Art Institute of Chicago
Dallas Museum of Art
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Stadel Museum, Frankfurt
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
Tate Gallery, London
Kunstmuseum Basel
 
Books / Publications
“Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality” by Mildred Glimcher
“Jean Dubuffet” by James Demetrion
“Jean Dubuffet: Works, Writings, Interviews” by Valeria Da Costa
“Jean Dubuffet: e L’Italia” by Maurizio Vannie and Stefano Cecchetto
“The Work of Jean Dubuffet” by Peter Selz

 

ART PRICES

LOT SOLD (1989 - 2009)

4017

MAX PRICE

$6,130,500

AVG PRICE

$999,541

TOTAL SALES (1989 - 2009)

$71,966,970

 Sans titre by Jean Dubuffet

Jean Dubuffet

Sans titre

Cornette de Saint Cyr, Paris

July 11, 2018

$107  USD

 Le Ciel ?tranger (Webel 360) by Jean Dubuffet

Jean Dubuffet

Le Ciel ?tranger (Webel 360)

Bonhams, Knightsbridge

July 4, 2018

 USD

 Mire G 13 (Bolivar) by Jean Dubuffet

Jean Dubuffet

Mire G 13 (Bolivar)

Bonhams, London

June 27, 2018

$392,376  USD

NEWS

“Wilderness” at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | August 6, 2018

Jean Dubuffet’s “Prints & Multiples” at Pace Prints, New York

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | July 6, 2018

Q & A with Vassili Tsarenkov, Co-founder of Sophia Contemporary Gallery

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | July 5, 2018

“Jean Dubuffet and the City” at Hauser & Wirth, Zürich

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | June 8, 2018

“Masters Unveiled” at Opera Gallery, Zurich

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | June 8, 2018

Know Your Artist — By the Numbers: Jean Dubuffet

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | June 5, 2018

SLIDESHOWS

On The Block: The Middle Market Surge

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | August 2, 2018

Abstract and Contemporary Paintings, Sculptures

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | July 3, 2018

“Restless Matter” at Cobra Museum of Modern Art

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | June 14, 2018

Post-War & Contemporary Art Paris, Evening Sale

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | June 6, 2018

Art Contemporain Evening Sale — June 6, 2018

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | June 5, 2018

Know Your Artist — By the Numbers: Jean Dubuffet

By BLOUIN ARTINFO | June 4, 2018