Inspiration Monday: Jean Dubuffet

Getting to know Jean Dubuffet:

  • French, born in 1901 and died in 1985
  • Known for founding the Art Brut movement- a term used to describe art created outside of official culture.
  • Dubuffet felt that a simple way of being, outside of the academic realm, created more pure, expressive art representative of the inner psyche
  • He was a sculptor, musician, painter, and even did some collage. The bulk of his work was created in the last 40 years of his life.

Some things he has said:

“What seems interesting to me is to reproduce in the figurative representation of an object the whole complex system of impressions we receive in the normal course of everyday life, the way this affects our feelings and the shape it takes in our memory; and it is to this that I have always applied myself.”

“A work of art is only of interest, in my opinion, when it is an immediate and direct projection of what is happening in the depth of a person’s being.. ..It is my belief that only in this Art Brut can we find the natural and normal processes of artistic creation in their pure and elementary state.”

“Man’s need for art is absolutely primordial, as strong as, and perhaps stronger than, our need for bread. Without bread, we die of hunger, but without art we die of boredom.”

“Art should be born from the materials.”

Some art he has made:


It seems to me that Dubuffet was intent on revealing the truth, and not trying to create from anyplace else than from what he was truly feeling. He was especially interested in the art of children, mental patients, and prisoners. He mentioned in a writing that he “had given up [around 1950] any ambition of making a career as an artist.. .I had lost all interest in the art shown in galleries and museums, and I no longer aspired to fit in that world. I loved the paintings done by children, and my only desire was to do the same for my own pleasure.”

Dubuffet reminds us that art for art’s sake is okay! He reminds us that we can run with the medium and go where it wants to go rather than making something because our cultures says it “looks good”. I love that he sticks to making things the way HE wants them to look and is able to express himself so thoroughly in his painting and sculpture.



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