First published: Spring 2021
Barbican Art Gallery is holding London’s first Jean Dubuffet retrospective in over 50 years. “Brutal Beauty” celebrates the artist’s singular and provocative approach and the inspiration he gained from his art brut discoveries. The accompanying exhibition book includes an essay by Sarah Lombardi, director of the Collection de l’Art Brut, which tells of the erratic early days of his art brut journey from 1945 until 1962. Here Raw Vision publishes an extract which opens with Dubuffet, frustrated and conflicted, deciding to dissolve the Compagnie de l’Art Brut.
Dubuffet in Vence, 1959. Photo: John Craven © Archives Fondation Dubuffet, Paris / © John Craven
“I am putting “l’Art Brut” on the back burner; I no longer wish to become immersed in this enterprise to the extent I was in the past year; I desire to occupy myself with nothing but my painting.”
When his artist friend Alfonso Ossorio offered to install the art brut collection in his mansion in East Hampton, Long Island, Dubuffet gratefully accepted. With his precious collection left behind, Dubuffet finally had the chance to really put his art brut project “on the back burner”. Yet even then it was not long forgotten.
L’Extravagante (The Extravagant One), Jean Dubuffet, 1954, oil on canvas, 28.5 x 36 in. / 73 x 92 cm, courtesy: Private Collection © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2020
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #107.