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Home >> Painting Styles >> Art Brut

Art Brut

Art Brut as an art for appeared around 1945. Its main proponent the French painter Jean Dubuffet defined the term as "works executed by those immune to artistic culture in which imitation has no role; in which their creators take all (subjects, materials, transposition, rhythm, style etc.) from their own individuality and not from the base of classical art or stylish trends". One can understand from this definition that practitioners of Art Brut are those who are at the periphery of the society: prisoners, patients of psychiatric hospitals or other institutions, originals, solitary beings, condemned, all individuals who have a social status removed from the constraints of cultural conditioning.

While Dubuffet's definition is quite specific, the English term "Outsider Art" is encompasses a broader spectrum to include certain self-taught or Naïve art makers who were never institutionalized. Typically, Outsider Artists have little or no contact with the institutions of the mainstream art world; therefore they are obviously not trained artists. They often employ unique materials or fabrication techniques. Much Outsider Art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds.

Jean Dubuffet

Dubuffet was born in 1901 in Le Havre. In 1918 he went to Paris where he gave up his course in painting at the Académie Julian after six months and started working on his own. He knew the painters Dufy and Leger and both had some influence on his otherwise 'self-taught' approach to art. By 1924 he had given up painting entirely and instead concentrated on running a wine business. In 1933 he started painting again, producing mainly puppets and masks, but in 1937 this creativity ended once again. It was only in 1942 that he finally devoted himself to painting and thereon devised a new painting style called Art Brut.

Notable Art Brut artists

  • Nek Chand
  • Henry Darger
  • Ferdinand Cheval
  • Madge Gill
  • Alexandre Lobanov
  • Martin Ramirez
  • Achilles Rizzoli
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