Anonymes - June 26 through October 31, 2021

The Collection de l’Art Brut Is home to a significant number of anonymous works, which testify to Jean Dubuffet's interest in an art form that lacked not only a name, but also the creative status often confirmed by a signature.

Let's not forget that as early as 1942, before Art Brut became a recognised concept, Dubuffet had been taking an interest in anonymous works in a folk art vein, including wooden and stone sculptures, photographs of tattoos, toys, etc. However, this curiosity about forms rooted in a common cultural heritage was later abandoned, as Dubuffet 's attention turned to expressive activities in which the individuality of the creator was paramount. And so, beginning in 1945, he began collecting anonymous items from one of Art Brut's earliest sources: asylum art.

Since the late 19th century "alienists" Dubuffet would become acquainted with were building up collections that included anonymous pieces, often under the seal of medical secrecy. Far from being considered of artistic interest at the time, they were in most cases regarded as symptoms of deviancy, as in the case of the anonymous works presented by Dr Lombroso in Turin at the first international criminology congresses.

Bringing together works from the Collection de l’Art Brut, and loans from the Cesare Lombroso Museum of Criminal Anthropology in Turin, the  Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (also) in Turin and the Prinzhorn Collection in Heidelberg, the exhibition features historic pieces bearing witness to the consigning of human rejects en masse to the hospital-prison institutions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Gustavo Giacosa, stage director and actor,
and Pascale Jeanneret, curator, Collection de l’Art Brut

The "Anonymous" show in the medias
Artension, Bruno Montpied, L'anonyme coeur battant de l'Art Brut - Lausanne, septembre-octobre 2021

Practical information


June 26 -October 31, 2021

Evening opening

Friday, June 25, 2021, 6:30pm 


Gustavo Giacosa, Pascale Jeanneret, Sarah Lombardi, et al., Anonymes, Lausanne, Antipodes/ Collection de l’Art Brut, 2021, 180 pages.

Guided tours

Upon request for groups and classes: in French, German, English.

Press Kit

To be downloaded on the media page


The exhibition Anonymes is accessible to people with reduced mobility.

Associated event(s)