Jean Dubuffet - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, November 16, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Madame Jacques Etling, Paris
    Private Collection, Paris
    Findlay Galleries, New York
    Waddington Galleries, London
    William Pall Gallery, New York
    Galleria L'Arte Moderna, New York
    Galerie Daniel Varenne, Geneva
    B.C. Holland, Chicago
    Dr. Joel Bernstein, Deerfield
    Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago
    John van Eyssen, London
    Waddington Galleries, London
    Paul Kantor Gallery, Los Angeles
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Jean Dubuffet: Retrospective, December 16, 1960 - February 25, 1961, cat. no. 125, pl. 56, pp. 224, 311 (illustrated)
    London, Waddington Galleries, Jean Dubuffet: 1901-1985, April 25 - May 19, 1990, no. 6, pp. 14-15, 79 (illustrated)
    New York, Cohen Gallery, Jean Dubuffet: Figurative Works, April 23 - June 4, 1994, pp. 14-15 (illustrated)
    Los Angeles, Kantor Gallery, Jean Dubuffet: Paintings and Drawings, December 3, 1994 - February 5, 1995

  • Literature

    Max Loreau, Catalogue des Travaux de Jean Dubuffet, Fascicule IX – Assemblages d'empreintes, Paris, 1968, no. 122, pp. 89, 108, 110 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Jean Dubuffet’s career is marked by his particular inventiveness and willingness to revisit and reinvestigate prior modes of creation and composition. A prolific artist whose oeuvre spans nearly all media and styles, Dubuffet’s finest works form a bridge to their predecessors while clearly laying a foundation for their followers. Femme aux Vêtements Laineux from 1954 is a superb painting on paper, which clearly exposes many of the themes and material complications with which Dubuffet was working at the time.

    Beginning in December 1953, Dubuffet began a series of works that were compositions made of lithographic prints, cut and pasted together. These Assemblages d’Empreintes were themselves mutations of his portraits and landscapes made of collaged butterfly wings, which had come to fruition earlier that year. Dubuffet regarded the body and landscape as inextricably linked. His most successful iterations of both subjects incorporate the visual language of one with the other – the body as a landscape and the landscape as living beast. Femme aux Vêtements Laineux melds these two fascinations into one figure, expressing a particular tactility and surface quality that belies the flatness of the paint used in its execution. Dubuffet discovered a specific surface effect in Femme aux Vêtements Laineux that he first explored in his celebrated Sols et Terrains series from earlier in the decade. Achieved with thick impasto of an almost mortar-like paint, Dubuffet was then able to recreate this energized physicality with only paint and paper. Such an elegant form as Femme aux Vêtements Laineux can clearly be recognized as a precedent for the wonderful, and wonderfully playful, series of small sculptures he would execute shortly afterwards.

    The immediacy of everyday experience was at the heart of Dubuffet’s fascination with art brut - the intuitive, unfettered and instinctive visual language that Dubuffet previously sought out in tribal cultures, mental institutions and children’s art. His quixotic figures are indicative of this tendency: Femme aux Vêtements Laineux harkens back to these rudimentary structures while establishing a new mode of expression – and done so exceptionally that is was included in his seminal retrospective in 1960.


Femme aux Vêtements Laineux

signed and dated "J. Dubuffet 54" lower right; further titled "Femme aux Vêtements Laineux" on the reverse of the board
oil on paper laid on board
25 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. (64.8 x 21.6 cm.)
Executed in 1954.

$180,000 - 250,000 

Sold for $274,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 16 November 5 PM EST