First published: Spring 2004
Sylvain Fusco’s work, the bulk of which is in the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne, dates from the most prolific period of Art Brut, the first decades of the 20th century, a time when illness was ‘producing the pearl.’ Generally isolated from the world in asylums, and with only rudimentary treatment available, some psychiatric patients, including Sylvain Fusco, created masterpieces in silence.
Sylvain Fusco was born on 4 September, 1903, in Rive-de-Gier, in the French Département of Loire, into a large family, originally from the south of Italy. His father, Pascal Fusco, was a cabinet-marker who sculpted decorative patterns on wooden furniture. His mother, Malvina, took care of her nine children, only six of whom survived into adulthood. The family settled in Lyon between 1905 and 1906, where Fusco’s father installed his studio.