Jean Dubuffet 1943-1963: Paintings, Sculptures, Assemblages: An Exhibition

Jean Dubuffet, Author, James T. Demetrion, Editor, Susan J. Cooke, Designed by
Jean Dubuffet, Author, James T. Demetrion, Editor, Susan J. Cooke, Designed by Smithsonian Books $60 (167p) ISBN 978-1-56098-298-2
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Paperback - 167 pages - 978-1-56098-299-9
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Jean Dubuffet (1901-85) stood the French art world on its ear with the provocative--even insolent--works that he began to exhibit in the last years of WW II. This volume, which accompanies a show at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, presents examples of Dubuffet's painting and sculpture from that time through the early 1960s. His violent, nakedly two-dimensional art can be difficult to capture in photographs, depending as it does in great measure on knotty textures and eccentric color schemes for effect. On the whole, however, the reproductions here do it justice, as do the intriguing essays and notes. Schjeldahl, an art critic, enthusiastically explicates Dubuffet's role in what he sees as the collapse of Western art tradition; Cooke, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, discusses Dubuffet's shocking portraits of France's literary elite, relating the scandal that their exhibition added to the then-current debate over the postwar role of collaborationist writers; art dealer Jean Planque offers personal reminiscences. This project will prove revelatory for those familiar only with Dubuffet's late works, the red, white and blue jigsaw puzzle confections for which he is best known. Demetrion is director of the Hirshhorn. (Sept.)
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