Karl Beaudelere, self -portraits in a mirror - June 10 through October 30, 2022

In 1972, Karl Beaudelere discovered Charles Baudelaire's volume of poetry Les Fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil), which marked him so deeply that he later assumed "Beaudelere" as his pseudonym.

Growing up in a working-class neighbourhood in Marseille, Karl trained in the printing trade and worked in a menswear shop before becoming a secondhand dealer and a security man. In 2007 he began drawing with pastel and felt-tipped pen and stencilling graffiti on the walls of the city. All his images were rooted in the Baudelaire book, which he read tirelessly and quoted in tattoos on his body.

The year 2011 saw this untrained artist start a series of self-portraits. Too poor to buy art materials, he worked with cheap ballpoints bought at the local market, spending a month or more on pictures some of which were extremely large, as he studied himself in a mirror hanging near his work table. The outcome was strange, densely traced faces notable for being marked out not by contours or well defined lines, but by a cell-like proliferation of circles or strokes overlaid in such a way as to gradually "bring forth" the image. Driven by this remarkable technique, the faces seen to arise out of the support like ghosts, triggering a powerful sense of uncanniness in the viewer. Sometimes, moreover, the drawing shows only part of the face, with the missing area seeming to dilute into the support and creating the illusion of the image's "disappearance".

In 2017, the Collection de l'Art Brut acquired eight drawings that became part of the Neuve Invention collection, formerly known as the ancillary collections. This ongoing collection comprises works by artists who are not self-taught, but who stand out from the conventional, notably in their use of stylistic procedures or materials. It also brings together the work of self-taught artists like the creators of Art Brut, but who differ from the latter in actively seeking artistic recognition. Thus in 2011 Karl Beaudelere had been able to present his self-portraits in a gallery for the first time. Today he continues to exhibit and work on various artistic projects.

Between 2019 and 2021, thanks to a major donation by the artist and the support of the Guignard Foundation, the museum became home to a total of sixty-seven Beaudelere drawings

This monographic exhibition is largely made up of drawings from the museum's holdings, supplemented by loans from the artist. It is accompanied by a documentary film by Philippe Lespinasse, co-produced by the museum, and a publication edited by Frédéric Pajak for Les Cahiers dessinés (Paris, 2022).

Curator: Sarah Lombardi, Director of the Collection de l'Art Brut

The "Karl Beaudelere, autoportraits au miroir" show in the medias
RTS, le 19h30, Julie Evard, "Karl Beaudelere à la Collection de l'Art Brut", 10 juin 2022
24 Heures, Florence Millioud Henriques, "Karl Beaudelere en orbite autour de lui-même", 21 juillet 2022
RTS, Vertigo, Florence Grivel, "Les fleurs de Karl", 15 août 2022
Bilan, Etienne Dumont, "La Collection de l'Art Brut révèle Karl Beaudelere", 16 août 2022
Le Temps, Elisa de Halleux, "La création face aux orages intérieurs", 23 août 2022
Art Absolument, Emmanuel Daydé, "Karl Beaudelere atomique", 1er octobre 2022

Practical information


June 10 - October 30, 2022

Evening opening

Thursday, June 9, 2022


Visages atomisés, Paris, Les Cahiers dessinés, 160 pages, 2022.


Karl Beaudelere, autoportraits des profondeurs, by Philippe Lespinasse, 2022, 20'

Guided tours

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

Press Kit

To be downloaded on the media page


The exhibition Karl Beaudelere, self -portraits in a mirror is accessible to people with reduced mobility.

Associated event(s)

  • Free guided tour of the "Karl Beaudelere, autoportraits au miroir" exhibition - Saturday 17 September 2022, 02:30 pm

    Booking via the online ticket shop

  • Lecture publique et dédicace - Thursday 6 October 2022, 07:00 pm

    Lecture par Jacques Roman d'extraits de son recueil de poèmes Visages, Edition de l'Aire, 2022

    Entrée libre sans inscription

    - online booking, within the limits of the seats available.