1.6.5.2 Art Brut/Outsider Art (1923- )

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Back to 1.6.5.1 Bauhaus (1919-1933) – Back to 1.6.4 Dada (1916 – 1930)

QUICK LINKS:
Mental Asylum Band-Copse, Wölfli
Canonne, Müller
Drawing, 1921, Wölfli
Saint Adolf, Wölfli
Tree of Life, Louis
My Eyes in the time of Apparition, Natterer
Untitled, Crépid
Gran Maitre of the Outsider, Dubuffet
Compagnonage, Dubuffet
Villa sur la route, Dubuffet

Totem Double Face, Chaissac
L’Hourloupe, Dubuffet
Personnage pour Washington Parade, Dubuffet
Le Cavalier
The Windmills, Jacqui
Patience, Perignan
Lunaison, Tatin
Two girls sculpture, Scott

French artist Jean Dubuffet first coined the term ‘Art Brut’, which literally means ‘raw art’, to suggest a new form of art that breaks with the traditions. He had been drawn to the thought by an interest in art by psychotic individuals. It is described as art produced by those immune to artistic culture, classical art or vogues,.where imitation plays no role. In 1972 the term ‘outsider art’ was used as its English translation.

[1652-10]

After a traumatic childhood, Adolf Wölfli was arrested in 1890 for the attempted sexual assault of two young girls and sentenced to two years in the St. Johannsen prison in Berne. In 1895 he was arrested once again for the attempted molestation of a very young girl. At this point he was committed to the Waldau Mental Asylum for evaluation, and diagnosed as schizophrenic.

He would remain a patient there until his death in 1930. During his institutionalisation, he was reportedly violent and uncontrollable, and frequently placed in solitary confinement.
Wölfli began work on his 25,000-page illustrated narrative life story which, upon his death, measured six feet high when stacked up.
[Source: theartstory.org]

Image source: theartstory.org
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Mental Asylum Band-Copse1910Pencil/Crayon/NewsprintAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Wölfli, Adolf1864-1930, aged 66Swiss painter/schizophrenicArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-11]

Prague City Gallery101 x 73

Image source: widewalls.ch
Müller married a Swiss woman and moved to the canton of Vaud to become a winegrower. He invented and patented a grapevine trimming machine, which would later influence his art. He registered a patent with the Federal Copyright Office, but failed to maintain the patent. Others stole the design and exploited it. This led Müller into a deep depression and eventually triggered a breakdown. Müller was then institutionalized in a Münsingen psychiatric hospital at 37 years old until his death at age 61.

In there, he began creating ‘machines’ on hospital grounds that were mostly made of wires, discarded wood, and strips of cloth while being glued together by his own excrements. The machines commonly were wheel-like structures in cages. These works usually depicted Müller’s fascination with perpetual motion. They all have since been destroyed, some by his own hand.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Canonne1918CrayonAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Müller, Heinrich Anton1869-1930, aged 61Swiss painterArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-12]

University of Heidelberg
Wölfli, a Swiss artist who was one of the first artists to be associated with the Art Brut or outsider art label. He was abused both physically and sexually as a child, and was orphaned at the age of ten. He thereafter grew up in a series of state-run foster homes.

He often attempted to perform sexual acts on young girls – often getting away unpunished. Eventually, he was caught in the act and institutionalised. After being freed, he was re-arrested for a similar offense and in 1895 admitted to the Waldau Clinic, a psychiatric hospital in Bern where he spent the rest of his adult life.

He was very disturbed and sometimes violent on admission, leading to him being kept in isolation for his early time at hospital. He suffered from psychosis, which led to intense hallucinations.

At some point after his admission Wölfli began to draw. His first surviving works (a series of fifty pencil drawings) are dated from between 1904 and 1906. Walter Morgenthaler, a doctor at the Waldau Clinic, took a particular interest in Wölfli’s art and his condition, publishing Ein Geisteskranker als Künstler (A Psychiatric Patient as Artist) in 1921 which first brought Wölfli to the attention of the art world.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: widewalls.ch
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Drawing, 19211921CrayonAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Wölfli, Adolf1864-1930, aged 66Swiss painter/schizophrenicArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-13]


Image source: Wikimedia commons
He worked as a Verdingbub (indentured child labourer) and briefly joined the army, but was later convicted of attempted child molestation. Re-arrested for a similar offense he was admitted to the Waldau Clinic.

Wölfli produced a huge number of works during his life, often working with the barest of materials and trading smaller works with visitors to the clinic to obtain pencils, paper or other essentials.
[Source: wikiart.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Saint Adolf portant des lunettes entre les deux villes géantes Niess et Mia1924Coloured Crayon/PaperAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Wölfli, Adolf1864-1930, aged 66Swiss painter/schizophrenicArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-14]

51 x 68
A domestic worker who had laboured for many years in a convent before becoming a housekeeper, Louis painted floral motifs on household items, canvases, and boards.

Her talent was recognized by one of her employers, the German art critic, dealer, and collector Wilhelm Uhde. The title Tree of Paradise (aka Tree of Life) suggests a concern with religious themes, and the work’s arrangement of jewel-like leaves recalls the stained glass windows of Gothic churches.
[Source: theartstory.org]

Image source: moma.org
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Tree of Life, The1928Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Louis, Séraphine 1864-1932, aged 78French painterArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-15]

MOMA, Museum of Modern Art, NY195 x 131

Image source; Wikimedia commons
August Natterer, a schizophrenic, was given the pseudonym Neter by his psychiatrist to protect him and his family from the social stigma associated with mental illness at the time. The son of a clerk and youngest of nine children, Natterer studied engineering, got married, travelled widely, and had a successful career as an electrician but was suddenly stricken with delusions and anxiety attacks.

On April Fool’s Day 1907 he had a pivotal hallucination of the Last Judgement during which ‘10,000 images flashed by in half an hour’.
[Source: ukdhm.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
My Eyes in the Time of Apparition1933Drawing/PaintingAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Natterer, August1868-1933, aged 65German painter/schizophrenicArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-16]

unknown
Fleury-Joseph Crépin, known as Joseph, was born at Hénin-Liétard in northern France. He did various jobs before running his own ironmonger’s shop. In 1930 he was initiated into spiritualism and at the age of 56 became a healer: he worked with the aid of his hands and used his watch as a pendulum.

Seven years later he produced his first compositions, convinced that he owed his inspiration to guardian angels. He went on to paint 345 oils on canvas, all numbered and dated. Many of the inhabitants of his region believed that these were imbued with a magical power. Based on the principle of symmetry, the paintings depict temples seen in his dreams according to a technique that is specific to him: drops of paint punctuate the entire picture, giving a relief effect to the flat surfaces of colour.
Joseph Crépin was convinced that the Second World War would come to an end when he had painted his 300th picture, which turned out to be the case: it was dated 7 May 1945.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: ousiderart.co.uk
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Untitled1939Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Crépin, Joseph1875-1948, aged 73French painter/spiritualistArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-17]

60 x 68

Image source: Wikimedia commons
This picture is typical of the Hautes Pates series that Dubuffet exhibited to huge controversy in 1946.

A thick, monochromatic surface serves as the ground for the crudely depicted figure, which is a parody of portraiture.

Although Dubuffet undoubtedly intended the series to offend and his graphic style and thick, coarse impasto certainly did offend conventional tastes, it is worth noting that the color palette is not as jarring as it might be. Dubuffet was at least cautiously mindful of the need for success.
[Source: theartstory.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Gran Maitre of the Outsider1947Oil/Emulsion/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Dubuffet, Jean1901-1985, aged 84French painter/sculptorArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-18]

Private collection0
In 2021 the Barbican mounted an exhibition called Brutal Beauty to show Dubuffet’s own works and his collection of Brut Art.

They described him as railing against conventional ideas of beauty, he tried to capture the poetry of everyday life in a gritty, more authentic way.

This was the first major survey of his work in the UK for over 50 years, showcasing four decades of his career, from early portraits and fantastical statues, to butterfly assemblages and giant colourful canvases.
[Source: barbican.org.uk]

Image source: .widewalls.ch
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Compagnonnage1956Oil/Canvas collageAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Dubuffet, Jean1901-1985, aged 84French painter/sculptorArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-19]

100 x 81

Image source: nationalgalleries.org
Dubuffet was influenced by graffiti and art created by those without formal artistic training, including children and people with mental illness. As a way of going against traditional art practices, Dubuffet would paint in thick layers, then scratch into the surface to produce a kind of graffiti, as seen in this painting. This work is one of twenty-four paintings that the artist produced in Vence, in the south of France, in 1957. The deliberately naïve style was shocking to the art world at the time.
[Source: nationalgalleries.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Villa sur la route [Villa by the Road]1957Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Dubuffet, Jean1901-1985, aged 84French painter/sculptorArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-20]

National Galleries Scotland100 x 81
This sculptural painting, representing a human figure comprised of puzzle piece-like segments of bold, flat colours, stands just over six feet tall.

The artist, Gaston Chaissac, serves as an example of an artist that Dubuffet originally categorised as Art Brut, due to his being an autodidact, untrained in the formal art world, but then later recategorized as a ‘Neuve Invention’ artist, as he had greater awareness of and interaction with the mainstream art world than other artists that Dubuffet considered as more ‘purely’ Art Brut.
[Source: theartstory.org]

Image source: centrepompidou.fr
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Totem Double Face1961Oil/BoardSculptural painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Chaissac, Gaston1910-1964, aged 54French painterArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-21]

Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris187 x 58

Image source: blog.artsper.com
Dubuffet’s L’Hourloupe series began in 1962 and would preoccupy the artist for many decades. The inspiration came from a doodle he created while on the telephone, in which the fluid movement of line combines with limited fields of color to create movement. He believed the style evoked the manner in which objects appear in the mind. This contrast between physical and mental representation later encouraged him to use the approach to create sculpture.
[Source: theartstory.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
L’Hourloupe – series 1962-19741966Ink/paperAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Dubuffet, Jean1901-1985, aged 84French painter/sculptorArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-22]

Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris0
This sculptural work features an abstracted human form whose body has been segmented with strong black lines. Some of the segments are white, while others have been painted solid red or blue, or striped red or blue. The work was produced by Dubuffet during his Hourloupe cycle which lasted from 1972-1974, during which he wished to give a sculptural or “architectural” dimension to his paintings.

It is evident from this, and other works, that Dubuffet drew inspiration from one of his favourite Art Brut artists, Gaston Chaissac, who created similarly segmented, colorful paintings and sculptural figures. A comparison of Dubuffet’s Personnage pour Washington Parade and Chaissac’s Totem Double Face (1961) show extreme similarities, and in fact, Chaissac accused Dubuffet of plagiarism. (This was not the only case in which an artist made such an accusation of Dubuffet).
[Source: theartstory.org]

Image source: contemporaryartdaily.com
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Personnage pour Washington Parade1973Polyurethane paint on epoxySculptural painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Dubuffet, Jean1901-1985, aged 84French painter/sculptorArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-23]

Pace Gallery, New York0

Image source: catawiki.com
Danielle Jacqui began drawing in 1945 and since then she has never stopped. In 1970, she became an antiques dealer and exhibited on her stalls, her works: paintings, painted furniture, embroidery.

The creative act, is an act almost of submersion: this need to cram, to accumulate.
It is her “house-workshop” painted and decorated in an unusual way that makes her famous. Covered with floor-to-ceiling floors, bas-reliefs, paintings, mosaics and brightly coloured inscriptions, both inside and out. The “maison de Celle qui peint”, as she calls it, becomes a veritable cabinet of curiosity where each single square centimetre is covered by the artist’s abundant creativity.

She integrates in her productions many recycled objects and mixes, in total freedom of expression, drawing, writing, embroidery, ceramics.
[Source: catawiki.com ]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Le Cavalier1996Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Jacqui, Danielle1934-French painterArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-24]

61 x 46

Image source: ???
Gregory Blackstock creates what cultural critic and writer Maria Popova calls astonishing visual lists, and has what Roger Cardinal refers to as obsessive interest in inventories and taxonomies. In this example of his work, he has produced diagrammatic grayscale illustrations of eighteen types of windmill, each neatly labeled underneath.

Born in the United States in 1946, Blackstock was first diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but the diagnosis was later changed to autistic savant. He obsessively reads encyclopedias, can speak a dozen languages, can play hundreds of songs on the accordion by memory, and can recall the names of nearly every one of his childhood schoolmates.

His taxonomic drawings range in subject matter from types of animals, plants, industrial tools, vehicles, buildings, stringed instruments, and mariners’ knots. Within each drawing, each subtype of the category being studied (for instance, various types of crows of the world, American owls, or Italian roosters) are, as Cardinal describes, diagrammatic, each item being presented plain and simple as the variant of a general type: thus, four dozen kinds of saw are squeezed into a single page, catering to a desire for symmetry as well as completeness.

Thus, although Outsider Artists tend to be associated with fantastical imagery and imaginative scenarios, we see that there are some who produce realistic representations of objects and cityscapes with an astounding level of detail and verisimilitude.
[Source: theartstory.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Windmills. The2014Graphite/Crayon/Marker/PperGenre painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Blackstock, Gregory 1946 – American painterArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-25]

102 x 72

Patience: You can find Art Brut at Lille Museum of Modern Art’s permanent exhibition, which houses over 5,500 works.

Also, the ever-growing Outsider Art Fair takes place both in New York and Paris.

The Collection de l’art brut, Lausanne continues to support self-taught artists with new exhibitions every year.

The movement lives on and has inspired the work of many experimental artists.
[Source: blog.artsper.com]

Image source: blog.artsper.com
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Patience2018Abstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Perignan, Salomé1977 – French painterArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-26]

115 x 75

Image source: widewalls.ch
Born in Laval, Mayenne, Robert Tatin began to train as a painter in 1909, and studied in Paris from 1918-1922, before returning to his home town to learn carpentry and establish a building business.

However, the turning point came in 1945, when, deeply affected by the impact of the Second World War, he made the definitive decision to embark on an artistic career. He established a ceramics and painting workshop back in Paris.
[Source: artiststudiomuseum.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Lunaison0OilAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Tatin, Robert1902-1983, aged 81French painterArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1652-27]

Joyce and Judith Scott were born in 1943 into a middle-class family in Cincinnati, Ohio. Joyce was a healthy baby. Judith was born with the extra chromosome carried by sufferers of Down’s syndrome, she was also deaf and never learned to speak.

They were separated at seven years of age. As an adult Joyce sought out Judith at an institution and enrolled her with Creative Growth, am arts centre for people with mental or psychological difficulties where they are given total artistic freedom. Judith eventually responded and became a textil artist.

Scott’s sculptures act as powerful symbols of her experience. Yet they also appear to represent an effort on Scott’s part to create a protective casing for items of value. In one instance, when assistants were moving her particularly large sculpture she had created, several tiny objects fell out of the work. It was then ascertained that the night before, Scott had secretly broken apart her necklace and put the beads inside her sculpture.
[Surce: theartstory.org]

Image source: widewalls.ch
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Untitled – Two girls sculpture?SculptureAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Scott, Judith1943-2005, aged 62American painterArt Brut
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):

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