John M. MacGregor: The Discovery of the Art of the Insane (1989)

10 February 2017, dusan

“This pioneering work, the first history of the art of the insane, scrutinizes changes in attitudes toward the art of the mentally ill from a time when it was either ignored or ridiculed, through the era when major figures in the art world discovered the extraordinary power of visual statements by psychotic artists such as Adolf Wölfli and Richard Dadd. John MacGregor draws on his dual training in art history and in psychiatry and psychoanalysis to describe not only this evolution in attitudes but also the significant influence of the art of the mentally ill on the development of modern art as a whole. His detailed narrative, with its strangely beautiful illustrations, introduces us to a fascinating group of people that includes the psychotic artists, both trained and untrained, and the psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, critics, and art historians who encountered their work.”

Publisher Princeton University Press, 1989
ISBN 0691040710, 9780691040714
xix+390 pages
via mutewar

Reviews: Aaron H. Esman (Hist Behavioral Sciences), Ellen Handler Spitz (Art Bulletin), Aaron H. Esman (JAPA).


PDF (24 MB)

See also Hans Prinzhorn’s Artistry of the Mentally Ill (1922–).

Jean Dubuffet: Ler dla canpane (1948) [French]

19 January 2016, dusan

An early work of Dubuffet, written phonetically and illustrated with six linocuts and woodcuts. The author presented it as “le premier texte publié en langue française vivante depuis les Serments de Strasbourg” [the first text published in French as a living language since the Oaths of Strasbourg]. Issued in 150+15 copies.

Publisher Art brut, Paris, 1948
[16] pages, 19 x 13.8 x 0.2 cm
via Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

PDF (16 MB)

Compagnie de l’Art Brut: L’art brut préféré aux arts culturels (1949) [FR, EN]

10 January 2016, dusan

Catalogue of the exhibition inaugurating art brut.

“Jean Dubuffet’s strong anti-cultural positions have led him to be interested and to seek new forms of art, far from any official production. The term Art Brut appears in 1945, when Jean Dubuffet made his first trips to research marginal art work in Switzerland and in France. Two years later, the art dealer René Drouin makes available the basement of his gallery, Place Vendôme in Paris, which became the Foyer de l’Art Brut. Inaugurated with the Barbus Müller, it welcomed exhibitions devoted to Wölfli, Crépin, Aloïse, Salingardes, Forestier, Juva and Hernandez.

In autumn of 1948, the Foyer de l’Art Brut is transfered to a house rented by the editor Gaston Gallimard and became the Compagnie de l’Art Brut. The founding members included Jean Dubuffet, André Breton, Jean Paulhan, Charles Ratton, Henri-Pierre Roché, Michel Tapié and Edmond Bomsel. The artist Slavko Kopač assumed the role of curator of the collection.

In October 1949, the Galerie René Drouin exhibits 200 works by 60 different authors. The text of the catalogue, entitled L’Art Brut préféré aux arts culturels [Crude Art Preferred to Cultural Art], written by Jean Dubuffet, defines the concept of Art Brut:

‘By this we mean the works executed by people free artistic culture, where mimicry, contrary to what happens among intellectuals, has little or no part, so that their authors draw all (subjects, choice of the used materials, means of transposition, rhythms, ways of writing, etc.) of their own heart and not clichés of classical art or fashionable art. We assist them in all pure artistic operation, raw, reinvented in the whole of all its phases by its author, from only his own impulses. Art so that the only function of the invention is manifested, and not those, constants in cultural art, chameleon and monkey.'” (Source)

Publisher René Drouin, Paris, October 1949
[52] pages, 20 x 17 cm
via Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

PDF (40 MB)
English translation of Dubuffet’s preface

See also Art Brut Lausanne Collection online