Shop the Show: A Paris Exhibition Highlights the Varied Output of Art Brut Pioneer Jean Dubuffet on the 120th Anniversary of His Birth

The show brings together sculptures, paintings, and drawings that span the artist's singular career.

Installation view
Installation view "Jean Dubuffet: Bal des Figures." Courtesy of Opera Gallery.

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What You Need to Know: Right now in Paris, fans of the Art Brut master Jean Dubuffet should make sure to pay a visit to “Bal des Figures,” an insightful exhibition at Opera Gallery. The show, which coincides with the 120th anniversary of Dubuffet’s birth in 1901, brings together a remarkable group of sculptures, drawings, and paintings spanning some 40 years of the artist’s career, from the 1940s to the 1980s. 

Why We Like It: Throughout his highly experimental career, Dubuffet was a cultural paradox, rejecting the mainstream while at the same time influencing artists in his circle. This exhibition kicks off with Dubuffet’s pivotal postwar works—a period when he forcefully rejected existing European artistic traditions and embraced the aesthetics of self-taught artists, children, and so-called outcasts. From there, the show tracks decades of Dubuffet’s protean approach to art-making. All in all, the exhibition underscores the artist’s wide-ranging talent, from intensely wrought, scatological paintings to playful, ebullient sculptures made in whites, blues, and reds.

What the Gallery Says: Elevating non-knowledge to the role of guiding principle in his singular body of work, Dubuffet ceaselessly explored and developed experiments around bold, indeed audacious, ‘tonalities.’ Resistant to conventional standards, Dubuffet once remarked that ‘True art always appears where you do not expect it—where nobody thinks of it or utters its name.’ Dubuffet’s polymorphic work covers six decades of the 20th century, and to account for the different aspects of his creative output, the exhibition is organized around selected key moments, alternating between works on paper (drawings and gouaches), painted masterpieces, and sculptures.”

Browse works from the exhibition below.

 

Arab, gazelle, and three palm trees (1948)
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Jean Dubuffet, Arab, gazelle and three palm trees (1948). Courtesy of Opera Gallery.

Jean Dubuffet, Arab, gazelle and three palm trees (1948). Courtesy of Opera Gallery.

 

Tasse de Thé I (1967)
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Jean Dubuffet, Tasse de Thé I (1967). Courtesy of Opera Gallery.

Jean Dubuffet, Tasse de Thé I (1967). Courtesy of Opera Gallery.

 

Elément bleu XII (1967)
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Jean Dubuffet, Elément bleu XII (1967). Courtesy of Opera Gallery.

Jean Dubuffet, Elément bleu XII (1967). Courtesy of Opera Gallery.

 

Site avec 6 personnages (1982)
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Jean Dubuffet, Site avec six personnages (1981). Courtesy of Opera Gallery.

Jean Dubuffet, Site avec six personnages (1981). Courtesy of Opera Gallery.

 

Pendule IV (Flamboiement de L’Heure (1966)
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Jean Dubuffet, Pendule IV (Flamboiement de L'Heure) (1966). Courtesy of Opera Gallery.

Jean Dubuffet, Pendule IV (Flamboiement de L’Heure) (1966). Courtesy of Opera Gallery.

 

Jean Dubuffet: Bal des Figures” is on view at Opera Gallery, 62 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris, through January 3, 2022. 


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