Master Works of Art Brut

Master Works of Art Brut

First published: Winter 2018

Celebrating the publication of Raw Vision’s one-hundredth issue, with a gallery of some legendary artists’ creations

Founded in 1989, Raw Vision quickly became the world’s leading publication reporting on the latest discoveries and news, helping to guide critical discussion, in the related fields of art brut, outsider art and self-taught art.

Now, in commemoration of this, the publication’s one-hundredth issue, the magazine looks back in order to look ahead: the following descriptions and analyses of emblematic works by five definitive, canonical art brut artists – Adolf Wölfli, Henry Darger, Aloïse Corbaz, Johann Hauser and Martín Ramírez – have been written by well-known specialists whose research has contributed significantly to our understanding of these art-makers’ creative visions and accomplishments. These short texts offer newcomers to this kind of art a hint of its richness and diversity, even as they remind experienced collectors and informed aficionados about the remarkable qualities that make it so intriguing – and unique.

From Von der Wiege bis zum Graab (From the Cradle to the Grave), vol. 4, pp. 405–06, 1911, pencil and coloured pencil on newsprint, 39.17 x 56.18 in. / 99.5 x 142.7 cm, Adolf Wölfli Foundation, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland

Although the word “genius” is sometimes casually tossed around in the arts, when applied to the multifaceted, highly original artistic accomplishments of the art brut creator Adolf Wölfli (1864–1930), it is a description that irrefutably fits. Wölfli grew up in the countryside around Bern, Switzerland’s German-speaking capital. As a young, orphaned farm boy, he was bounced around in the service of uncaring families. In 1895, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic and sent to the Waldau psychiatric institution near Bern, where he spent the rest of his life.
 

This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #100