Jean Dubuffet was born in 1901 in Le Havre, France, into a prosperous family. He was educated at the prestigious Lycee Carnot in Paris, where he developed an early interest in painting. After graduating from the Lycee, Dubuffet studied art at the Academie Julian and the Sorbonne.
In 1925, Dubuffet embarked on a journey to Africa, where he was greatly influenced by native art and culture. Upon his return to France, Dubuffet began experimenting with unconventional materials such as tar, sand, and mud, which he used to create his first “art brut” paintings.
In the 1940s, Dubuffet began to develop his theory of art brut or “outsider art.” This theory held that art should be created from instinct and emotion, rather than from intellectual or academic principles. Dubuffet’s art brut paintings are characterized by their childlike simplicity and crude, untutored style.
In the 1950s, Dubuffet turned his attention to sculpture, creating a series of large-scale public works in France. In the 1960s, he began to experiment with collage and assemblage, using found objects to create his “assemblages.”
Dubuffet’s later years were marked by illness and declining health. He died in 1985 at the age of 84.
Despite his relatively short career, Jean Dubuffet is considered one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th century. His unique approach to art-making challenged traditional notions of what art could be, and his work has had a profound influence on the development of contemporary art.