* 1901 Le Havre
† 1985 Paris
Jean Dubuffet was already interested in fine arts during his schooldays, so that a trip to Paris in 1918 was combined with the intention to become a painter. Dubuffet attended painting courses at the Académie Julian for six months, but then abandoned painting. After a trip to Italy and his military service Dubuffet returned to Le Havre and initially worked in the wine trade again. When he resumed painting in 1933 it was once again only temporary. The final decision to devote himself exclusively to painting was made in 1942. Deeply impressed by the genuine forms of expression of mentally handicapped children, which were totally free of visual thinking, and the ways of life of primitive people, Dubuffet followed the Surrealists in their rejection of the aesthetic and moral concepts of western civilisation. The realisation of his own dream instead of conforming to society within a 'cultural' order made Dubuffet a consistent loner. A tendency to take high risks, openness and a high mental capacity were expressed in his high adaptability: achievements were abandoned over and over again in order to create new things. Thus, his work includes the archetypal figures of the 1940s as well as the impetuous outburst of gestural brushstrokes in his last paintings; the diversity of content having its formal counterpart in the usage and combination of various materials. Until his death in 1985 Jean Dubuffet's work could be seen at a retrospective in Paris, Hanover and Zurich and many international exhibitions.