Les Passants

JEAN DUBUFFET (1901-1985)

Les Passants, 1982
38 ¼ x 48 inches

French artist Jean Dubuffet coined the term I’art brut “art in the raw,” “untouched by culture,” to describe his work. His conceptions of what art is or should be revolutionized the preconceived ideas of art. As a young man, Dubuffet received formal instructions in painting, but did not adopt the concepts of the usual trends in art and museum art. He believed that these concepts were too far removed from real life and began searching for the truth. The innovative, provocative, and revolutionary Dubuffet made significant contributions to the breakdown of traditional interpretations of Western art. The truth for Dubuffet came from outside the ideas and traditions of the artistic elite, and he found inspiration in the art of children and of the insane. “I would like for people to look at my work as an enterprise for the rehabilitation of scorned values and, in any case, make no mistake, a work of ardent celebration.” In the 1960s,with the discovery of new materials such as polystyrene, Dubuffet began to construct painted figures he called L’Hourloupe. Using a vinyl medium, and a bold palette of red, blue, white and black, he produced irregular contoured abstract figural sculptures. (Examples of these sculptures grace the entrance to the Center for the Arts in Louisville, Kentucky.) In the 1970s, Dubuffet began to produce gigantic landscape sculptures he named “Logologies et falbalas” that provide a maze-like atmosphere, where viewers are engulfed by the work. Debuffet work continues to intrigue the world and a retrospective of his work shown at the Pompidou Center in Paris, France in 2001, drew millions of visitors.