Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dubuffet and Art Brut

Jean Dubuffet, born in 1901 was a well-known and well-liked French painter and sculptor. Throughout his early life, Dubuffet had doubts about how valuable art really was. He ran the family wine business until he took up art full time in 1942.

In addition to painting and sculpting, Dubuffet helped show the art of the insane to the world. He even came up with the term “art brut.” It means “raw art.” What Dubuffet meant by art brut was art that came from inside the artist and was not influenced by what other people thought. This was true of the art of the insane.

As Dubuffet traveled and met artists, he discovered that others (who were not insane) could create raw art as well. People who didn’t fit into society could create art that was free of society’s influence. Dubuffet began to use the term “art brut” to talk about any art, whether the artist was sane or insane, that was created without the influence of society.

Dubuffet began to collect art brut works and eventually put them on display. The collection grew and traveled from Europe to the U.S. and back again. As Dubuffet became a well-known and somewhat wealthy artist, he hired about 100 people to find and collect art brut works.

Finally, in 1976, Dubuffet’s collection found a permanent home in Switzerland at the Chateau de Beaulieu. The space was once used for studying the behavior of the mentally ill but now houses the huge collection of art brut works.

I'm off to Massachusetts this weekend but I've already set up post for through Monday. Enjoy your weekend!

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