Dubuffet & Art Brut - June 23 through September 25, 2005

Dubuffet & Art Brut
The polymorphous creative genius Jean Dubuffet was not just the inventor of the concept of Art Brut but was also behind the origin of the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne. From 1945 onwards he gathered together works by self-taught creators and later donated them to the City of Lausanne which, in 1976, inaugurated the Collection de l’Art Brut at the Château de Beaulieu. This exhibition studies the relationship between Dubuffet’s creative production and the works in his collection.

What was the connection between Jean Dubuffet’s œuvre and Art Brut? Between Dubuffet the creator and Dubuffet the author of the concept of Art Brut and its first collector: imperviousness or plagiarism? Despite the plethora of exhibitions and books devoted both to Dubuffet and to Art Brut, this relationship has never specifically been studied. This is why “Dubuffet & Art Brut”, together with the essays in the important catalogue, provides a unique opportunity for visitors to judge for themselves on the evidence, to experience the confrontation.

For his first prospecting trip looking for works of Art Brut, Dubuffet went to Switzerland, where numerous doctors, artists, writers and intellectuals gave him their assistance. His search proved fruitful: several Swiss creators – Wölfli, Aloïse, Müller – would form the nucleus of his Art Brut collections. Much later, Dubuffet contemplated donating all he had collected to Switzerland as a just return to the source. The researcher and theoretician of Art Brut felt that there prevailed “in Switzerland more than anywhere else a disposition to approach untutored art productions with a total freshness of eye, allowing the effects of the authors’ fame, of prestige and competition to intervene less than occurs elsewhere”. The rich collection of 5,000 works would be given to the City of Lausanne and the museum inaugurated at the Château de Beaulieu in 1976. Over the past thirty years, gifts, acquisitions and new discoveries have allowed the collections to be further enriched. Today the museum owns more than 30,000 works.

Exceptionally, creations by the French artist come face to face with works by Art Brut creators within the permanent display at the Collection de l’Art Brut. Works from the Portraits series (1947) and the L’Hourloupe cycle (from 1962) as well as late creations from the Mires (1983) and Non-Lieux (1984) series – in other words, some forty works from public and private collections in Switzerland and abroad – have been brought together for the occasion.

We owe the concept of this exhibition to Jean-Hubert Martin, Lucienne Peiry, Michel Thévoz and Mattijs Visser, supported in its concrete implementation by Sarah Lombardi. The exhibition was presented at the museum kunst palast in Düsseldorf from 19 February to 29 May 2005. After Lausanne, it will be hosted by the Musée d’art moderne Lille Métropole in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France, from 15 October 2005 to 2 January 2006.


A show dedicated to Jean Dubuffet’s famous text Asphyxiante culture will be presented within the framework of the exhibition. This event is an original creation by Jacques Roman and Daniel Perrin. It is supported by the Theatre-Vidy Lausanne.

Practical Information


June 23 to September 25, 2005
Private view Wednesday June 22, 2005, 18:30


Lucienne Peiry

Exhibition catalogue

Savine Faupin, François Gibault, Sarah Lombardi, Jean-Hubert Martin, Lucienne Peiry, Thomas Röske et Michel Thévoz, Dubuffet & l’Art Brut, Milan/Lausanne, 5 Continents/Collection de l’Art Brut, 2005.


The exhibition Dubuffet & Art Brut is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.