Who do you love?


Jean Dubuffet, Self Portrait, 1966, marker pen on paper


‘For a very long time I was too humble […] and lacking in confidence and composure; and I suffered cruelly because of this, appearing in my own eyes to be nothing more than the most abject dog turd. It was only at a late stage – when in the end I had resigned myself to living like a dog turd without shame or regret and making the best of the situation – that it dawned on me that everyone else was also a dog turd.’

– Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985)


Portrait of Jean Dubuffet by Marc Trivier


I love Jean Dubuffet.

While studying at university, one afternoon in the library when flipping through books in the art section, I turned a page and saw a reproduction of Man Eating a Small Stone by Dubuffet.

It turned my world upside down.


Jean Dubuffet, Man Eating a Small Stone, 1944, lithograph


Early in his life, Dubuffet was influenced by the German psychiatrist and art historian Hans Prinzhorn, and his book Bildnerei der Geisteskranken (Artistry of the Mentally Ill) published in 1922.


Hans Prinzhorn 1886-1933


Dubuffet collected an enormous amount of work by psychiatric patients, prisoners and children. He invented the term Art Brut (raw art) for the work produced by these non-professional artists. The collection is now housed at the Musée de l’Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Heinrich Anton Müller, Man with flies and snake, c 1920s, crayon drawing


Adolf Wölfli, Saint Adolf wearing glasses, 1924, pencil on paper


Dubuffet once declared ‘For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity.’


Jean Dubuffet, Pisser at the wall, 1945, lithograph


Jean Dubuffet, Bertelé Mondain, 1946, oil on canvas


Jean Dubuffet, La belle encornée, 1954, oil on canvas


Jean Dubuffet, Le deviseur II, 1969-1970, epoxy resin and polyurethane paints


Jean Dubuffet, Cabinet Logologique, 1967-1969, epoxy resin and concrete with polyurethane paints


Jean Dubuffet, Closerie Falbala, 1971-1973, epoxy resin and concrete with polyurethane paints


Jean Dubuffet, Portrait d'homme, 1974, mixed media on paper


Jean Dubuffet, Mêle moments, 1976, mixed media on canvas


Jean Dubuffet, Jardin d'émail, 1974, epoxy resin and concrete with polyurethane paints


One of my most ecstatic art moments was visiting the Kröller-Müller Museum when in the Netherlands and encountering Dubuffet’s Jardin d’émail. Indescribable.


Rona Green atop Jardin d'émail


Dubuffet expressed that ‘Art should always make us laugh a little and frighten us a little, but never bore us.’


Jean Dubuffet driving some hot wheels


Put simply the guy is mind-blowing and his effect upon me has been profound.


Rona Green, party, 1995, lithograph


So, who do you love?