Art Brut: The Origins of Outsider Art

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Random House Incorporated, 2001 - Art - 318 pages
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In the first half of the twentieth century, avant-garde artists in Europe, keen to break with academic tradition, began looking beyond the accepted canons of Western art in a search for new sources of inspiration. "Primitive" art, the drawings of children, the art of the insane, automatism, and graffiti all opened up new avenues of experimentation. One of the key figures in this drive to push back the boundaries of art was leading French artist Jean Dubuffet. At the end of World War II, Dubuffet became interested in the works being produced by patients in psychiatric hospitals and by other social outcasts. He made two fruitful trips to Switzerland, where he discovered Wö lfli, Aloï se, and Mü ller, now recognized as important exponents of what was later to become known as "Outsider Art." In 1948, Dubuffet founded the Campagnie de l'Art Brut in order to extend and document the collections he had recently begun. In 1976, after various adventures, the Collection de l'Art Brut moved to its permanent home in Lausanne.
This carefully researched book traces the history of the concept of Art Brut, which is inseparable from the work and personality of the man who did the most for the appreciation and preservation of these remarkable works. The account is completed by biographical notes on the artists featured and an extensive bibliography. The works reproduced, mostly from the collection created by Dubuffet, have retained their subversive freedom, which continues to fascinate and inspire artists and collectors today.

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PREFACE by Michel Thevoz
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

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About the author (2001)

Lucienne Peiry is an art historian. She has recently replaced Michel Thévoz as the Head of the Collection de l'Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her work is based on her doctoral thesis tracing the history of this collection, the most important grouping of Art Brut works.

James Frank has a Master of Fine Arts degree in literary translation. He is professor at St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron, Michigan.

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