The Syllabus

Jean Dubuffet: A Retrospective Glance at Eighty

Jean Dubuffet: A Retrospective Glance at Eighty

Contributions by Jean Dubuffet, Morton L. Janklow, and Thomas M. Messer
Published in 1981
32 pages, fully illustrated
Softcover, 7.50 x 8.50 inches

In celebration of Jean Dubuffet’s eightieth birthday, this exhibition brings together two collections—that of Morton and Linda Janklow as well as of the Guggenheim’s own holdings. Dubuffet was a key exponent of Art Brut (Raw art), a movement that eschewed conventional notions of beauty in favor of a heightened, raw, and primitive aesthetic. This catalogue offers an insight into the artist’s development through to 1981. Several included canvases display Dubuffet’s trademark aesthetic, typified by richly textured surfaces and the addition of found materials. Alongside these pieces are sculptures, watercolors, and prints. The introduction is written by Thomas M. Messer and is followed by Morton L. Janklow’s essay entitled “Notes on Collecting and Friendship: A Tribute to Jean Dubuffet.” Revealing quotes from Dubuffet are interspersed amid black-and-white images of his work, followed by a list of showcased pieces, as well as a short biography.


Jean Dubuffet is an artist whose work has inspired us and has brought us inestimable joy. By the fertility of his genius and his never-ending creativity, he has changed the way reality and beauty are defined and perceived in this world. Dubuffet has forged the way for all artists in the postwar period, planting markers along the road which did not inhibit them but rather freed them from prior inhibitions so that their work could flower as is has. Without him, much of what has been created in this fertile period would not have been possible. 


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