Jean Dubuffet

Brunette with Fleshy Face (Head of a Woman)

August 1951

Jean Dubuffet was attracted to the surfaces of dilapidated walls, pitted roads, and the natural crusts of earth and rock. During the 1940s and '50s, he sought to create an equivalent texture in his art. He experimented with a variety of materials to produce thick, ruggedly tactile surfaces that constitute deliberately awkward, vulgar, and abbreviated imagery, often of grotesque faces or female nudes. Dubuffet made the present work with an oil-based “mortar,” applying it with a palette knife, allowing areas to dry partially, then scraping, gouging, raking, slicing, or wiping them before applying more medium. The resulting surface is so thick that incisions providing the contours and delineating features seem to model form in relief. Dubuffet’s aggressively anticultural, anti-aesthetic attitude and spontaneity of expression provided an example for members of the COBRA group in Europe, and New York artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Jim Dine.

On view

Artist Jean Dubuffet
Original Title Châtaine aux hautes chairs (Tête de Femme)
Date August 1951
Medium Oil, sand, and pebbles on Masonite
Dimensions 64.9 x 54 cm
Credit line Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York)
Accession 76.2553 PG 121
Collection Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Type Mixed media

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On view

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